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Native spirit: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center hosts Shop & Stroll

A past first-place winner in the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center’s Pueblo Gingerbread House Contest. (Courtesy of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center)

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center provides a unique experience for holiday shoppers during its Pueblo Shop & Stroll on Friday, Dec. 6. Native American vendors will fill the courtyard with their one-of-a-kind arts and crafts, including jewelry, woven apparel, pottery, baskets, clay ornaments and other creative items. There will be two dance performances by the White Mountain Apache Crown Dancers during the event. Pueblo Harvest Cafe will serve refreshments.

The restaurant, as well as the IPCC museum and the Shumakolowa Native Arts gift shop will be open during the Pueblo Shop & Stroll.

A few days later, visitors can view and vote for their favorite entries in the 11th annual Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Pueblo Gingerbread House Contest. The entries will be on display in the east lobby from Monday, Dec. 9, through Jan. 7, 2020.

“Being our 11th annual, we certainly every year get an increased number of entries, so we invite everyone and anyone to participate,” said Jon Ghahate, IPCC museum cultural educator from the pueblos of Laguna and Zuni.

Visitors can cast their votes for in the adult and children’s categories Dec. 9-17. The People’s Choice Award winners will be announced Dec. 17. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place. Adult winners will receive $600 for first place, $400 for second place, $250 for third place and $550 for People’s Choice. Children winners will receive $250 for first place, $150 for second place, $100 for third place and $200 for People’s Choice.

The entries are created by amateur individuals or groups. Professional bakers are not allowed to enter. All parts of the gingerbread house entries have to be edible and could not include cardboard, plastic or illumination.

“The main emphasis or the main theme is to represent either a pueblo village, house, community, church or historic building or dwelling to perhaps exemplify New Mexico’s pueblo culture,” Ghahate said of the gingerbread houses.

The entries are not your typical gingerbread houses.

“It brings a whole new twist, because lots of us think of gingerbread houses as maybe those Scandinavian, European pitched roofs, something from Hansel and Gretel, but this whole idea is a Southwest pueblo influence, including their culture,” Ghahate said. “It takes a whole different paradigm to look at this and see the imagination.”

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