NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 30, 2012

Home sweet home

8-foot-tall confectionary creation salutes Salisbury Beach

SALISBURY — Consider it a gingerbread house on steroids. Or at least one worthy of a royal kingdom.

When 29-year-old James “Hollywood Jim” Shalkoski set out to design this year’s gingerbread house for Seaglass Restaurant on Salisbury Beach, where he works as a bartender, he was definitely going for the wow factor.

But even he may have outdone himself with the 8-foot-tall, seaside-themed confectionary masterpiece bedecked in more than 1,000 LED lights.

They don’t call it a fantasy for nothing.

The Salisbury Beach Past & Present Gingerbread House was unveiled yesterday amid much fanfare.

Shalkowski spent more than three weeks painstakingly creating the 300-pound structure that honors some of Salisbury Beach’s beloved icons, popular landmarks and amusements from the early 1900s to today.

The edible edifice is like a walk down memory lane, with its miniature depiction of the intricate and massive Victorian-style Ocean Echo building that housed The Frolics, the beach’s famous nightclub from the 1940s through the 1970s; Shaheen’s FUNORAMA including game stands, the Chinese Snack Bar and Bob’s Roast Beef; the Himalaya Ride complete with spinning motion and the original music playlist; and the old Coast Guard watch tower and Ghost Trail stage coach train from the turn of the century.

It also honors the beach today, with the current Pavilion building where Seaglass and the adjacent Blue Ocean Music Hall is based featured as well — complete with signs and the electronic message board that currently sits on the corner of the property.

Creating the structure was no easy feat. It’s made from 256 square feet of gingerbread baked from scratch,

Shalkoski began the time-consuming task of designing the gingerbread house two months ago by researching old photos of Salisbury Beach, consulting with seniors at the Salisbury Council on Aging to gather their memories of the seaside, and walking the old Salisbury to Amesbury Ghost Trail. Then, he set about making every edible detail.

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