The West Virginia University Creative Arts Center has an impressive holiday centerpiece in its main lobby this yeara gingerbread house made to look like the CAC .

The gingerbread house was the creation of Executive Chef Eric Filburn, who was assisted by Peggy Walden, Nick Lapana and Marsha Strosnider, all with WVU catering .

Filburn and his staff delivered the giant pastry to the College of Creative Arts deans office Tuesday (Dec. 2) and set it up in the lobby near the Christmas tree. Dean Bernie Schultz stood by as it was set up.

Bernie saw the gingerbread house we created of Woodburn Hall, and he joked about having one made of the Creative Arts Center,Filburn said.Then two years later, we decided to create one to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the CAC .

Filburn said he and Walden collaborated on the design, and Walden spent countless hours baking all the gingerbread pieces at her home and creating the round and many-windowed gingerbread house pieces.

Then Filburn and Lapana completed the base structure out of foam board before assembly. Filburns 6-year-old daughter, Brooke, also had fun helping with the final decorating of the gingerbread house.

From start to finish, it took four days to assemble,Filburn said.We finished it during Thanksgiving week.

The CAC gingerbread house was assembled with icing and decorated with all kinds of sweets, including colorful peppermint sticks for the pillars, Wheat Thins for the walkways, cookies stacked and coated with glitter to make pine trees, and coconut for snow.

The decorations also include gum drops, peppermints, peanut M&Ms, Life Savers, nonpareils, mini pretzels, licorice sticks, miniature chocolates bars, chocolate drops and cookie sprinkles.

Wreaths made of icing decorate all the windows, and Walden even created a candy train set for the top of the circular building. The walkways are illuminated with miniature street lights connected to battery packs that are also decorated with candies and pretzels. The street lights and the presents under the Christmas tree are the only parts of the building that are not edible.

Eric Filburn is one of the finest executive chefs in our region, and as his gingerbread CAC demonstrates, he is an artist with food in other ways as well,Schultz said.

I am grateful to Eric that he has chosen to honor the 40th anniversary of WVU s Creative Arts Center in such a �€~sweetway, and I know that his wonderful creation will bring a smile to many faces during this holiday season,Schultz added.