Ho! Ho! ... hometown concert venue in cookie form?!
We're, of course, talking about gingerbread house First Avenue. The architect behind the rockin' holiday dessert is Rachel Peterson, program director at Norway House. The Minneapolis-based Norwegian heritage society opened its second annual Gingerbread Wonderland exhibit last week, and Peterson's sugary recreation of First Ave is a show-stopper.
"First Ave is such a Twin Cities icon," says Peterson, who received assists on the piece from her boyfriend's daughter, Beatrice. "And since the world has lost some major musical players this year, including our own Prince, I thought it would be a nice way to pay tribute to some of those who passed away this past year."
Gingerbread house First Avenue includes many of brick-and-mortar First Avenue's iconic features. The logo affixed to the former bus station facade is unmistakable, as are the artist stars adorning the wall. Peterson says she paid her respects to fallen stars Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and Sharon Jones by featuring candy stars with their names.
Unlike brick-and-mortar First Ave, you can chew and digest gingerbread house First Ave, but its scale-model construction does lower capacity considerably. "The whole entire thing is edible -- gingerbread, royal icing, and fondant," Peterson says, though she doesn't advise eating any of the 70 structures currently at Norway House, including a replica of Prince's Paisley Park.
"[The gingerbread houses] sit out for six weeks and before that had all kinds of hands touching them -- so I definitely do not recommend eating any of the display!"
Gingerbread Wonderland is the result of an open call for Twin Cities-themed gingerbread houses. Peterson reports more than 100 bakers -- ages ranging from 2 to 92 -- participated in this year's event, which runs through January 8 (Tue.-Sun., $5 for non-members).