Life-size gingerbread house is a sweet treat for the New River Valley

Draper Mercantile completes construction on life-size gingerbread house

DRAPER, Va. – A life-size gingerbread house in Pulaski County is officially open to the public. The Draper Mercantile held a ribbon-cutting for the giant candy and cookie creation on Wednesday morning.

The house is made up of hundreds of blocks of homemade gingerbread -- mixed, rolled out and baked in the Draper Mercantile kitchen. Thousands of pieces of candy, from gumdrops to peppermints and sugared glass decorate the house. It's all held together with more than 500 pounds of royal icing that acts as cement for the giant structure.

"It's just about the nostalgia to me," says Chef T. "It's being able to bring something unique for the kids and the families. What better way to do that than building a life-size gingerbread that you can sit in and even eat. The kids have already started licking it! It is truly an awesome feat."

Kids are invited to taste-test some of the candy as families are asked to make a donation to Free Camp. The Free Camp is a charity organization in Dublin that helps children attend summer camps they would not be able to afford.

"It's a great way to get the word out and a great way to get the community involved," says Sharon Webb, the director of Free Camp.

There are plenty of chances for families, kids and couples to visit the gingerbread house during the holiday season. Chef's dinners will be served in the gingerbread house during selected nights in November and December.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be making stops by the Draper Mercantile for special breakfast events, the Holiday Homecoming and gingerbread house building workshops.

For more details on all of the events and how to register, click here.