The banquet room of the Oakland Hills Country Club transformed Friday into a holiday gingerbread wonderland as supporters of historic preservation in Bloomfield continued to raise money for the Barton Farmhouse project.
More than 200 guests filled the sold-out brunch event, which featured delectable creations from some of the Metro Detroit area's best amateur and professional pastry chefs that were up for auction. On Thursday, more than 80 children used the hand-crafted, dream desserts as inspiration for creating their own houses during the corresponding family event. Officials said that event also sold out. The gingerbread houses, cakes and other centerpieces were auctioned off with proceeds benefiting restoration of the historic Barton Farmhouse and the Craig Log Cabin, two of the oldest homes in the Bloomfield area.
Now in its fifth year, the holiday event is one of the biggest fund-raisers for the effort initiated by Preservation Bloomfield. The group raised roughly $750,000 so far to move and restore the exterior of the home, built in 1832. Now it's time to focus on the interior, which could take another $100,000 officials said.
"Now we've got to keep on going, finish this house and get it open for the public to see," said Bloomfield Hills City Commissioner Pat Hardy. "None of us really knew the expense of historic preservation when we started, but we think it's worth it."
Two dozen 'gingerbread artisans' showcased their creativity with edible renditions of local and regional landmarks, such as the Wing Lake School and the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. There was also plenty of space for whimsical imagination, such as the 4-foot-tall chocolate Santa from Schakolad, and a gingerbread dragon encased by a chocolate castle.
"This is my favorite of the ones here," said Bloomfield Township resident Claudia Lounis of the castle piece. "It's very creative and detailed."