Gingerbread House Sparks Holiday Cheer at the Church of Scientology's Fort Harrison Retreat

Top Quote Gingerbread has been a mainstay of the culinary world since antiquity, but the Fort Harrison chefs make it seem new again with annual gingerbread house. End Quote
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL (1888PressRelease) December 05, 2014 - In a tradition that spans more than 1,100 years, Clearwater's Fort Harrison has completed construction on one of the area's largest gingerbread houses. Nearly a month in the making, the gingerbread house is a scale replica of the historic property, which now serves as the international religious retreat for the Church of Scientology.

    The house was designed by Fort Harrison Chef Sharni Locatelli. It stands four-feet tall in the lobby of the Fort Harrison Auditorium and was created with 185 pounds of gingerbread, 95 pounds of frosting, more than 2,000 pieces of candy, and 1,652 individual gingerbread-cookie shingles that cap the roof. An electric train circles the winter landscape setting. Non-native Florida wildlife, including polar bears and elk can be seen amongst another thing rarely seen in Florida - snow.

    "Scientologists from all over the world will spend the holiday season at the Fort Harrison," said Church spokesperson Pat Harney. "The gingerbread house, 20-foot Christmas tree, and magnificent Christmas ornaments throughout the hotel make them feel at home."

    It is believed that gingerbread was brought to Europe with the Crusaders. Gingerbread was popularized by the Armenian monk, Gregory of Nicopolis (later Saint Gregory) and rapidly became a part of the Medieval European culinary tradition. Not only did ginger taste good, it also had properties that helped to preserve the cake in the days before refrigeration.

    The gingerbread house will be the centerpiece of the annual Fort Harrison Holiday Brunch on December 14th. More than 600 neighbors and friends are expected to attend. Public who would like to see the gingerbread Fort Harrison and holiday decorations may do so by calling 727-467-6860 to set an appointment.

    The Fort Harrison is the hub of the international Church of Scientology religious retreat. Scientology is an applied religious philosophy developed by L. Ron Hubbard, which offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one's true spiritual nature. To find out more about Scientology, visit

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