Santa, the Lions Club, lend a hand to contest at Nashua Senior Center

NASHUA – The Nashua Senior Activity Center was festive with sugar and spice and everything nice Saturday morning, as children and parents gathered to view some area-donated gingerbread houses and have a chance to decorate their own one-of-a-kind creations.

Santa Claus and his elves also stopped by to say ‘hello’ to children of all ages.

Center Development Director Judy Porter said the event has been in the planning stages for months.

“Well, it’s a good event; it’s a community event,” she said. “We partner with the (Nashua Lions Club). They cook the breakfast; I work closely with them and coordinate the gingerbread house contest and it all comes together.”

Several individuals, as well as companies throughout Greater Nashua, built their own gingerbread houses for a contest that was judged by The Telegraph Editor In Chief Matthew Burdette.

Children also had the chance to create their own gingerbread houses, thanks to some generous donors.

“We were very fortunate,” said Porter, who joined in the festivities dressed as the Sugar Plum Fairy. “The Fire Fighters Union donated $250, and Ward 7 Alderwoman June Caron donated $150, as did Catherine Fariz. That gave us the money to buy the gingerbread houses, so the children could come in and decorate them and take one home for free.”

Also, on-hand was Mayor Jim Donchess.

Porter said center officials wanted to expand the gingerbread house contest, but didn’t have enough staff to facilitate it.

“We, as the Lions club, did the cooking of the breakfast and the serving, and all the manual labor that goes into the event on behalf of the Senior Center,” said Erin Freda a vice president with the Nashua Lions Club. “We allow them to do their thing with their guests, while behind the scenes, cooking breakfast for everyone.”

Porter continued to emphasize the importance of the Lions participation, “in allowing our staff to work on the gingerbread houses or reindeer antlers with the kids. The Lions club really handles the manual labor for us because we don’t have enough pairs of hands,” she said.

Throughout the day, Freda said some 30 Lions helped with the staffing.

“Their day started at 5:45 a.m.,” she said. “It’s a great day and a wonderful event and a great partnership with the senior center that gets our name out there and also support the incredible work that the seniors do with the city.”