BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Open Works is back this holiday season with the perfect Baltimore-themed decoration, a gingerbread version of the city’s iconic rowhouses.
Okay, technically the houses are made of graham crackers instead of ginger bread, but the holiday tradition is still the same. Kits for the confectionary construction project have graham crackers–including one with windows, a door and a cornice, all laser-cut–for the facade and walls, icing to hold it all together, and candy for decorating the home.READ MORE: Health Officials Urge Vaccination & Boosters As COVID-19 Rate Rises, Omicron Arrives In Maryland
The maker space created the kits last year after having to cancel its annual cookie exchange due to the pandemic.
“It really became a beloved community event, and we were sad we weren’t going to be able to continue it,” said April Danielle Lewis, director of community and culture for Open Works.
Open Works posted 50 kits for sale and they quickly sold out, Lewis said. They made another 100 and those went fast, too, Lewis said.
As of Tuesday morning, the organization had already sold more than 100 kits, Lewis said, and plans to expand its initial run of 150.
“Last year it was really fun to see the things people did. Some folks went above and beyond,” said Lewis, pointing to architects who made elaborate gardens or decorations for their rowhouses and one person who replicated the Mount Vernon mural depicting iconic actor and drag queen Divine.
Lewis suspects the kits are so popular because they combine Baltimore’s love of kitsch and things that reference the city’s culture.READ MORE: Maryland Has Three Confirmed Cases Of The Omicron Variant Of COVID-19, Hogan Says
“For me, growing up, either be it in school or at home, we always did the gingerbread kit. I do feel like it’s very much a tradition of the season,’ she said. “And I think it’s cool we’re able to put a spin on it to give it a Baltimore feel.”
This year, Open Works is donating $5 from every $30 kit toward a Greenmount West Community Center fundraiser to help a longtime resident, Rosalind Bell, restore the home she has lived in for nearly three decades.
Bell recently had the roof repaired, but an “unscrupulous contractor dismantled her home,” according to the community group.
Structural problems were discovered after Bell was approached about having a mural painted on the side of her home, Lewis said.
The Greenmount West Community Center is hoping to raise $150,000 to fix Bell’s home.
“We are committed to providing assistance which allows seniors to age in place with dignity and grace,” said Kisha L. Webster, executive director and co-founder of the Greenmount West Community Center.
Greenmount West is one of three neighborhoods that make up the Station North Arts & Entertainment District, and while many Baltimoreans know the area for its galleries and artists spaces, the neighborhood is the neighborhood that it is because of the folks before us,” Lewis said.MORE NEWS: Jury Watches Interrogation Video In Murder Trial For Keith Smith, Who Blamed Panhandler For Wife's Death
“And I think it’s important to help preserve folks who have helped create a neighborhood we all enjoy,” she said.