Want to fix up a playground? Make a gingerbread house

The Marblehead Family Fund in charge of the Gingerbread Festival each year is also taking the wheel to keep town playgrounds up to date.

The independently-funded organization created by a group of moms in the 1990s recently finished a $300,000 overhaul for the Hobb’s playground located at Brook Road in Marblehead giving the neglected space a fresh new look with new equipment and flooring.

The Fund launched a capital campaign reaching out to every household and business in Marblehead.

The organization also received donations from people around town and an Americans with Disabilities Fund Act grant, which covered all the wheelchair-accessible pieces available for disabled children.

“Hobb’s playground was rebuilt completely. It has been on for decades. So long in fact will still don’t have an answer as to when Hobbs was actually last built. It’s been around that long, so it really needed an overhaul. Mostly because of safety reasons and making it inclusive. That was a big thing for us, to make sure that the playground was inclusive for everybody to play on. It’s well chair accessible and all the features are really safe to keep everybody safe while having fun and learning and playing together,” said Laney Dowling, Chair of the Marblehead Family Fund.

The playground was mostly finished during the past summer but some final touches including a donor board and a scavenger hunt were recently installed this past week. To finish the freshly renovated playground two benches will be added in the future.

“We are super excited to have it opened. So many families are using it. people are on it and enjoying it,” said Dowling.

The community-based organization is currently focused on maintaining the playgrounds in Marblehead working closely with the Marblehead Recreation and Parks department. “The last few years have been solely focused on raising money. We are just kind of regrouping and see where other parks need attention,” said Dowling.

“Now that Hobb’s is re-done, I think we are in a good place with our playgrounds,” she added.

With their success in keeping Marblehead Playgrounds up to date, the Marblehead Family Fund partners with the Marblehead Museum each year to host a Gingerbread Festival though out the Christmas Walk weekend.

The Gingerbread Festival is a gingerbread house creation contest where anyone from school groups, businesses, families, and the general public can enter by going to the online forum and dropping off the gingerbread creation to be included in the contest.

People get really into their gingerbread houses, it’s really a sight to see,” said Dowling.

Each year, the festival gets around 70 houses that enter the contest. The proceeds go directly towards the Family Fund organization to help repair all of the playgrounds that need attention in town.

The Contest will be taking place on Dec. 2 through Dec. 4th at the Jeremiah Lee Mansion. The festival entry fee has a cost of $5 per person and $20 for a family.

To find out more please visit: www.mhdfamilyfund.org