The baked, iced and snapped-together ingenuity and imagination of several local residents was in the spotlight Thursday night at City Hall.
Winners of the Greencastle Parks and Recreation Department's annual Gingerbread House and Brickmania Build Santa's Workshop were announced at the outset of Park Board's December meeting.
Taking first place in the family category of the Gingerbread House contest was "Santa's Train Station," an elaborate gingerbread creation by Seth Lawrenz and his parents, Kim and Steve Lawrenz of Morton.
Not only did the eight-year-old Bainbridge Elementary third-grader create a train station layout but he even made a gingerbread train rolling down the tracks.
The layout, complete with outbuildings, Christmas trees and even a "hot springs," took about three hours to put together, mom Kim Lawrenz said.
Besides gingerbread, the creation includes gumdrops, Hershey's kisses, candy canes and lots of vanilla icing for a snowy effect.
The individual winner in the gingerbread competition was eight-year-old Haylee Romalia, daughter of Matt and Felicia Romalia, Greencastle, and her "Cuckoo for Christmas" entry.
The Deer Meadow second-grader concocted a cuckoo clock out of gingerbread, using candy canes as accents and creating a shingled roof of candy wafers.
Meanwhile, the "Sugar Chalet" gingerbread creation, submitted by Daisy Girl Scout Troop 307, Greencastle, captured first place in the organization category.
The lone winner in the park's Brickmania Build Santa's Workshop contest was the Hagen family of Greencastle.
Sam Hagen pointed out that the map of the United States on the wall of the workshop showed Indiana as a "red state," although his Lego-inspired definition differs from the usual political reference.
Pointing at the red peg within an outline of Indiana, he explained, "Indiana's a naughty state."
Certainly a nice touch by a young Lego maniac.
During the Park Board meeting that followed the awards ceremony, Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Troy Scott announced that a special Brickmania program, "Santa's North Pole Express," is scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12 at City Hall.
The first 16 "engineers" to sign up ($10 registration fee is necessary) will construct his or her own North Pole Express train from Lego building blocks supplied by the Park Department.
Meanwhile, in anticipation of more upcoming winter building sessions, Park Director Rod Weinschenk put out a call for Legos, urging families with unused Lego blocks in closets, attics and basements to donate them to the Park Department.
"If you happen to have a bucket, box or another container of Legos, Mega Blocks or other building blocks that are gathering dust and going unused in your home," Weinschenk suggested, "please consider donating them to the Parks and Recreation Department for our upcoming Brickmania building workshops."