A Gingerbread City will be unveiled at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel’s first annual “Meet Me Under The Fig Tree” community gathering on Sunday, December 4, and will be on display for the balance of the month.
Measuring 12 feet wide by 14 feet long, the Gingerbread City is the brainchild of Ernesto Carrillo, the hotel’s director of engineering and, now, its city planner.
Carrillo said, “I really enjoy doing this each year because it is something nice for the hotel guests and the community to see.”
By the time the Gingerbread City is complete, it will contain 500 pounds of sugar, 50 pounds of assorted candies, and will have consumed more than 500 hours of work by a team of 10 engineering staffers and hotel employee volunteers.
The city will feature 21 buildings, including a school, a bank, a church, and a jail. Carrillo noted, “When we first began making these gingerbread houses, we always went big. We never made just one house. One of our first gingerbread creations was eight by four feet and consisted of 8 to 10 buildings.”
In addition to the Gingerbread City, the “Meet Me Under The Fig Tree” gathering will feature local entertainment, holiday treats and beverages, lobby holiday décor by Bob Pranga, also known as “Dr. Christmas,” and two silent auctions.
The first auction will be held in the meeting bungalows and feature a variety of items donated by the surrounding shops and businesses of Santa Monica. Funds raised will benefit Habitat For Humanity / Operation Home Delivery, a program aiding the hurricane recovery effort.
The second auction will take place in the hotel lobby will feature a “real estate sale” of eight select Gingerbread homes, decorated by neighboring elementary schools. Funds raised from the sale of the houses will benefit Chrysalis, a local organization exclusively dedicated to helping economically disadvantaged and homeless individuals become self-sufficient through employment opportunities.The fig tree under which the gathering will take place is Santa Monica’s most famous tree — a giant Moreton Bay fig that was planted by Senator John P. Jones, one of the founders of the city, circa 1889, and is a designated City landmark.