By JOHN ANDERSON, photos by MADISYN HERMAN
Eric Jones put the finishing touches on a gingerbread man ice sculpture in Olean this morning to welcome visitors to the grand opening of an incredible miniature Olean made of gingerbread.
Businesses on State and Union as well as other businesses around Olean come to life with this gingerbread project called Ornamental Olean.
It’s an 88-square-foot gingerbread display replica of Olean businesses with a working train going over streets made of chocolate bars. Jones, who just set a Guinness Book of World Records for carving the world’s largest pumpkins, created the display with 500 pounds of gingerbread, candy and frosting.
You can see the gingerbread display through the end of the month at Tri County Arts Council. The entrance is at 114 West State Street.
This week, it is open Friday at 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. with Santa and Mrs. Claus handing out candy at the opening. It will also be open Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Starting the week of Nov. 27 (closed on Sunday and Christmas Day), they are open on Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
After Christmas, the display will be back open on Tuesday, Dec. 26 through Thursday, Dec. 28 from noon to 6 p.m. and the last two days will be Friday, Dec. 29 and Saturday, Dec. 30 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday they will open by special appointment only.
Businesses donated to the project as proceeds are going to the The Pink Pumpkin Project (PPP) which has a mission to live a legacy of faith, hope, love and compassion for others and to make sure NO ONE fights alone! To provide financial and emotional support to those in our local communities fighting breast cancer.
The details are perfect, from Angee’s to Fox Financial. Another business that wanted to support the Pink Pumpkin Project was Orthodontists Associates of WNY and Dr. Dominic A. Colarusso, Jr.
Jody Stephan, a Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts graduate, baked the village with help from Angelica Porcuri. Jones then went to work.
(Have you missed Chuck Pollock? See his work exclusively HERE at the Wellsville Sun!)
“I have never touched a gingerbread house in my life. The only time I touched frosting was for eating,” Jones said with a laugh. “It took a couple of months and strategy and then it kept growing. We were going to do one block and it kept getting bigger and bigger. The original idea was small, but I don’t do anything small! I wanted to do it as big as possible.“
Jones is sculpting a 1,200-pound, 8-foot tall ice sculpture this morning for the grand opening. Inside, the entire room is decorated as a Christmas wonderland by Brittney Bokman.
“I am thrilled with it and I hope the city, the businesses, residents and anyone who visits Olean. I want this to bring a smile to the face of people in the community,” Jones said. “You learn a lot about the geography and the businesses.”
There will also be a lot of foot traffic as visitors will see incredible work done by artists from Allegany, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties at the Tri County Arts Council.
Tri County Arts Council Executive Director Paula Bernstein said the Art Gallery and Artisan Market will will be open during the gingerbread project. When visitors walk in to the winter wonderland, they will exit through the art council.
“This project is an extension of artistry and creative artwork in the physical form, I think this project is absolutely amazing … it is a sight to see and showcases the beauty of Olean in the best way,” Bernstein said. “I see this as an opportunity for the artisans I represent in Allegany, Chautauqua and cattaraugus counties to meet new audiences for their work.”
MADISYN HERMAN PHOTO GALLERY:
Bonus Nick Davis 360-degree photo at the end.
Another Nick Davis masterpiece: