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St. Mark’s Church and Arts Outreach Host Third Annual Gingerbread Wonderland With Visit From Santa

Over 100 gingerbread houses will be on display at St. Mark’s Dec. 5, 2015. Click to view larger
Over 100 gingerbread houses will be on display at St. Mark’s Dec. 5, 2015. (St. Mark’s photo)

St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church & Preschool and Arts Outreach invite the public to attend the third annual Gingerbread Wonderland event to be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at St. Mark’s located at 2901 Nojoqui Avenue in downtown Los Olivos.

​The church’s Stacy Hall will be transformed into a Gingerbread Wonderland featuring more than 100 handmade gingerbread houses crafted by local schoolchildren, families and businesses.  

Guests can vote for, and enter to win, their favorite gingerbread house creations with $1 raffle tickets. All proceeds benefit Arts Outreach and St. Mark’s Preschool. 

A message received at St. Mark’s from the North Pole indicates that Santa will visit in the church parlor for the duration of the event, providing a cozy place for kids to share their Christmas wishes with the jolly man.

Diane Byington and her Solvang Conservatory students, accompanied by St. Mark’s music director Beverly Staples, will provide seasonal music to enhance the merriment along with other performers including The Jacob Sisters and more. 

In the church courtyard, there will be opportunities for children to create and decorate Christmas ornaments and prepare an angel halo for the 5:45 p.m. procession leading to the Los Olivos Christmas Tree lighting at the flagpole just one block away. 

Now in its third year, Gingerbread Wonderland is a popular family-friendly gathering as part of annual Los Olivos' Olde Fashioned Christmas festivities.

Over 100 delectable houses are expected to be on display this year; with an anticipated 60 houses decorated by student artists from Ballard School, The Family School, Los Olivos School, Oak Valley School, Santa Ynez Charter School, Santa Ynez School, Santa Ynez Valley Christian Academy and Solvang School.

Click to view larger
(St. Mark’s photo)

“All these gingerbread houses embody the Christmas spirit!" said Los Olivos resident Liz Tyng. "It rings louder with each year and we are sure to be enchanted once again this season.”

Sandie Mullen, executive director of Arts Outreach shared, “We are so grateful for the community who come out to support Arts Outreach and St. Mark’s Preschool.” 

For those who would like to enjoy some delicious food and beverages during Gingerbread Wonderland, the courtyard at St. Mark’s will host Chef Bethany Markee’s Good2Go! Gourmet Hot Dog Cart; Chef Jake Francis from Valley Piggery with succulent pork dishes; soup from Emily Harwell's own Soup Mama and fresh-made tri-tip sandwiches.

Homemade baked goods, warm apple cider, coffee and other libations will be offered. 

Additionally, local craft people and artisans will show their creations for sale at the Artists Bazaar, located nearby at the Los Olivos Grange Hall, 2374 Alamo Pintado Avenue from 12 to 7 p.m. 

This venue allows for early holiday shopping with selections including jewelry, candles, ornaments, leather work and more. These are just some of the events that are part of the town-wide Los Olivos' Olde Fashioned Christmas celebration

The Rev. Dr. Randall Day, St. Mark’s priest and rector remarked, “We are thrilled to host these family-friendly activities for the community as part of the Los Olivos' Olde Fashioned Christmas this year. This day is a wonderful way to celebrate the season.”  

For more information on participating in, supporting or attending Gingerbread Wonderland, contact Yvonne Lowe, St. Mark’s Preschool director at 805.688.1815 or Sandie Mullin, Arts Outreach executive director at 805.688.9533.

Laura Kath is a publicist representing St. Mark's-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church and Arts Outreach.

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