They’re only elementary school aged, but the members of Girl Scout Troop 37064 of Frederick had realistic expectations for their participation in the annual Scents and Sweets Competition and Auction.

“I think everyone is going to be eating the candy,” Jaya Deni, 10, said recently of the gingerbread structure they are crafting this year.

“Everyone will have a sugar rush and everybody is crazy,” Ava Vivari, 7, added.

The troop of 25 is one of the groups competing in the children’s gingerbread group category for the annual event held by Celebrate Frederick. Other categories include Wreath: Amateur, Wreath: Professional, Gingerbread: Individual Child, Gingerbread: Teen and Gingerbread: Amateur.

Scents and Sweets is slated for next Thursday at the William R. Talley Recreation Center in Frederick. It is free to attend but the public is invited to bid on the items entered in the competition with the proceeds going back to Celebrate Frederick.

Jennifer Martin, the executive director of Celebrate Frederick, said the event has been around for at least 20 years, though they once had a category for holiday floral arrangements rather than wreaths. They now also say “gingerbread structures” instead of houses since participants have been creating villages and various outdoor displays through the years.

The only guidelines are that the wreaths cannot be pre-decorated or pre-purchased, and the gingerbread structures should be completely homemade outside of the children’s categories. They have some size restrictions and Martin said they should reflect “some version of what the holidays mean to [the participants].”

The competition portion of the event comes from a panel of judges as well as a “People’s Choice” vote, which Martin said is tallied on site. She said they usually get about 400 votes and the competition is stiff.

“The creativity, it’s so beyond anything I could put together,” she said.

She described the event as very family friendly, complete with Christmas cookies, hot chocolate and a special crafts and story-time session held by Frederick County Public Libraries.

The auction will continue through the weekend of December 7 since the recreation center serves as a hospitality building for the weekend’s Candlelight House Tour.

The Girl Scout troop, which also competed last year, is designing a “Tree Lighting at Baker Park” gingerbread scene this year.

“We’re going to have a nice snowy scene and a lot of people playing at the park,” Sidney Clayton, 10, said. “We might have some presents under the tree.”

Troop leader Leah Mayer said they would be using a kit for the main gingerbread centerpiece and then each girl would be making her own tree out of sugar cones. The girls also planned to make gingerbread depictions of themselves.

Victoria Clayton, 8, was hoping to put some skateboarders in the Baker Park bandshell and Olivia Mayer, 10, had the idea for powdered sugar snow and peppermint candy ornaments.

Interior Designer Bradd Hammond, who owns the Frederick-based company Mr. Christmas, is competing in the Wreath: Professional category. He won awards in the category last year. 

This year, Hammond said he is planning a more traditional and natural creation, though the sky is the limit with what he’ll do for his clients. He recalled once creating a 35-inch “grandmother wreath” using antique items, a small storybook and a doll.

Hammond said he tends to be drawn to more fashion-forward wreaths, using florals, berries and holly rather than ornaments. He said one of his trademarks for wreaths is only decorating three quarters of the ring and leaving an upper portion bare. He said he doesn’t like to decorate using too much symmetry.

“It looks more artistic that way than making the right side mimic the left side,” he said.

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