Gingerbread Jimmi wishing benches spread holiday cheer | ParkRecord.com

Gingerbread Jimmi wishing benches spread holiday cheer

(Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

J.R. Holbrook, author of the children's book "Gingerbread Jimmi: Magical Storybook," has brought the Christmas spirit to the Park City Library with the annual Gingerbread Jimmi contest since 2009.

While that event has become a Park City tradition (see accompanying story), Holbrook wanted to spread the magic on a bigger scope throughout Summit County.

So he designed the Gingerbread Wishing Bench, and for the past couple of years, Holbrook worked to find a place for the two benches where anyone can sit and forget their troubles.

"We want the benches to be a place for families to gather and create Park City memories for years to come," Holbrook said during an interview with The Park Record. "The world is kind of grim right now. It's kind of cynical, and we were going to bring the benches online next year for the 10-year anniversary of Gingerbread Jimmi Competition. But we decided that Santa Claus wanted to bring them out early to bump up the Christmas spirit."

The two red benches can be located at J.W. Allen & Sons Toys & Candy, 1675 Redstone Center Drive, and at La Niche Gourmet & Gifts, 401 Main St.

"There is a special energy with the benches, and I think it's a great resource for the community," Holbrook said. "People can just come and sit, reflect or clear their minds."

There are specific rules for making a wish, he said.

"You have to sit on the bench and take a deep breath," Holbrook said. "Then you make your wish and release it to the Polar Star."

While doing so, people shouldn't worry about how the wish will be granted.

"They just need to trust that Santa, his elves, Gingerbread Jimmi and the Polar Star will know the best way to fulfill it," he said. "Wishes really do come true. The problem is that us as adults focus on how the wishes will come true. So I just want people to sit on the bench and send their wishes and let them come back however they do. Because there is so much magic in the world and tapping into it will come back to you tenfold."

Holbrook began creating the Gingerbread Jimmi Wishing Benches two years ago.

"The idea came from holding the Gingerbread Jimmi contest every year where the kids always tell me how good they feel and how much fun they have," he said. "They always say they wanted to feel the same excitement and same happiness all year along."

After thinking about what the children told him, he designed the benches.

"As I thought about Park City and Summit County, I felt there needed to be two," he said.

Premier Powder Coating and Custom Fabrication in Idaho made the benches.

"They usually do commercial projects and regular city benches," Holbrook said. "So when they made the Gingerbread Jimmi benches, they told me how much they enjoyed them because they were different and special."

Both benches feature a non-edible replica of Gingerbread Jimmi.

"The cookie was made by a company called Display Fake Foods on the East Coast," Holbrook said. "They make replicas of desserts for fancy restaurant dessert trays."

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the first bench was held Nov. 25 at J.W. Allen to correspond with Small Business Saturday.

"Santa was gracious enough to take time from his busy schedule to attend the ceremony and sprinkle magic polar dust on the bench," Holbrook said.

The second bench was installed at La Niche last Tuesday.

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"There is something special about Park City and these benches are an extension of this," Holbrook said.

For information, visit http://www.gingerbreadjimmi.com.

The ninth annual Gingerbread Jimmi contest will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 4, at the Park City Library.

Applications are available at the library’s reception desk, 1255 Park Ave.

The event, which has become a local tradition, encourages children ages 5 to 12 to make their own gingerbread houses.

The kids need to bring their creations to the library by 6 p.m. for judging, said J.R. Holbrook, author of the “Gingerbread Jimmi Magical Storybook.”

“They will get to walk a red carpet and drop the houses off,” Holbrook told The Park Record. “While the judges look at the houses, we’ll have a book reading and sing some songs.”

The award show with Santa Claus will start at 6:30 p.m.

“The categories are divided into age groups,” Holbrook said. “In one group we have ages five to 8 and in the other we have ages nine to 12.”

First prize for the younger group will be $75. Second prize is $50 and third prize is $25.

First prize for the older group is $100. Second prize is $75 and third prize is $50.

The gingerbread houses will be on display in the library until New Year’s Day.

“We are so grateful to our sustaining partners who allow us to do this,” Holbrook said.

Sponsors include Park City Library, Holbrook Studios, Deer Valley Resort, J.W. Allen & Sons, Baby Nee Nee, Davanza’s, Mrs. Fields Cookies, Cookie by Design, Tanger Outlets and XORTIUM Social Media Studios.

“We love holding the Gingerbread Jimmi contest at The Park City Library every year,” Holbrook said. “They have been so gracious and have given the kids a place to show off their creations.”

The annual Gingerbread Jimmi contest will be held on Monday, Dec. 4, at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave. For information, contact Katrina Kmak, youth services librarian and event co-host by calling 435-615-5603 or visit http://www.parkcitylibrary.org.