For each of the last 5 years, Kent has acted as the gingerbread house headquarters in Connecticut by hosting the Kent Gingerbread Fest.
This fun and quirky community activity places gingerbread houses created by members of the community in shops and local businesses, where visitors have the opportunity to see them and vote on their favorites.
Billing itself as “one of the largest Gingerbread Festivals in CT,” the Annual Kent Gingerbread Fest runs from just after Thanksgiving through December 31. During that time, the quaint shops and businesses in Kent will have dozens of intricate, colorful gingerbread houses on display for visitors to marvel over. Potential visitors can find a map of all participating businesses here.
In addition to looking at and voting on your favorite gingerbread creation, Kent does its best to get the whole town involved in the festivities throughout the month, hosting a number of holiday events: The Annual Kent Holiday Champagne Stroll, wine tastings, Pancakes with Santa, and even a horse-drawn carriage ride through town. You can find more information about these additional activities at the Kent community calendar.
Really, it’s ingenious when you think about it. The Gingerbread Fest is marketed as a way for visitors to get themselves and their families into the holiday spirit, but it’s so much more than that. It is a marketing campaign for Kent itself.
By placing the gingerbread houses in businesses around town, and at a time of year where you’re more likely to be looking to buy things, the festival is funneling you through town as a way for them to make money.
There’s nothing wrong with this—on the contrary, for the festival to continue year after year, it needs to continue to show value by selling product. If the Kent Gingerbread Fest is one of your favorite holiday traditions, then I encourage you to buy something from one of the businesses that you pass through as you look at the various creations.
After all, if the businesses don’t make money, they may well stop going through the trouble of producing the festival to begin with.
Making a Daytrip Out of It
If you’re going to Kent for the day to check out the Gingerbread Fest, there’s plenty more to do in the area to keep you busy for the entire day.
Why not make a day trip out of it? Head over to Bulls Bridge, one of the few functional covered bridges left in Connecticut (and built in 1842!) Check out Kent Falls State Park to see a beautiful series of waterfalls. Or check out some of the delicious restaurants that the city has to offer. It’s easy to stay busy, even with a carload of kids, when there’s this much variety at hand.