Building with gingerbread

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 21, 2014

Believe it or not, this is an economic development story.

Now and then an outsider helps us get a fresh perspective on facets of life too easily taken for granted, or at least underestimated in importance.

That was the case recently when reporter Mark Wineka was covering the Rowan Museum’s annual gingerbread house workshop. In addition to children working with — and often eating — candy, icing and gingerbread, lots of parents were on hand to help.

The Holloman family from Greenville said they were spending the weekend in Salisbury and Spencer to take part in local Christmas activities. They started out by signing up for the N.C. Transportation Museum’s Polar Express, a now sold-out attraction that incorporates elements of the popular children’s book of the same name into a train ride. While booking the tickets online, Jennifer Holloman spotted a link to the gingerbread house workshop the next day and signed up for that, too. Of course, the weekend included eating at a local restaurant too.

Gingerbread houses don’t add to the tax base, but the draw of top-notch children’s activities in Salisbury-Rowan may be reaching critical mass. There are Thomas the Tank Engine’s sold-out visits, The Norvell’s  children’s theater productions, this weekend’s presentation of “The Nutcracker” by Piedmont Dance Theater and the Salisbury Symphony, and more. Those are all good things for a community to be known for.

Kudos to the organizations and volunteers who make it all happen.

The gingerbread connection may be no more than an anecdote for the Convention and Visitors Bureau. But activities like these add up when it comes to the quality of life for families in Rowan, and they even attract families from outside the county.

They also uphold age-old traditions — riding trains, enjoying stories, building gingerbread houses, spending family time together — no batteries or WiFi required.