Towering chocolate mountain peaks globbed with frosty white icing surround a colorful gingerbread village, complete with homes decorated with every sugary sweet candy, cookie or savory snack imaginable. From Oreo and Dorito covered rooftops to Christmas trees dotted with M&Ms, the impressive structure sits in the window of The Pie Bar in Downtown Long Beach and marks the eighth year Isaac Salgado has spent hundreds of hours creating the architectural, culinary feat for the joy of all who linger to take in every delicious detail.

This marks the first year that Salgado, board member of Willmore City Heritage Association (WHCA), and a former executive chef who now runs his own local business, Rug’it Cleaning, has created two villages. Dedicated to adding just a little bit more to the village each year—whether depicting the murals around town or simply expanding the village to take up multiple tables, Salgado has created a second village at MADE by Millworks that will be on view starting Thursday.

Master gingerbread maker Isaac Salgado places a gingerbread house on a structure at MADE by Millworks. This is the eighth year Salgado and the Willmore City Heritage Association has built a gingerbread village for businesses on Pine Avenue. Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. Photo by Asia Morris.

Both villages were built by a team including builder and WHCA treasurer, Hulean Tyler, volunteers from WCHA, along with Salgado’s own family. Mariela Salgado and their two daughters lent a playful hand in mixing and adding globs of icing to the structure, working diligently throughout Wednesday. The Winter in Willmore Gingerbread Village has been used over the years to promote WHCA’s Winter in Willmore event at Drake Park, a December affair bringing out the community for snow sledding, arts and crafts, and yes, gingerbread house making. Of course, due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no event this year.

“Considering this is the eighth year I’ve helped Isaac in creating his vision I’m happy to be a part of this annual tradition and even more so this year since we are unable to have Winter in Willmore,” Tyler said. “We are hoping to help pull more people into Downtown since there are two villages this year. I hope families are able to enjoy both villages and are able to have some normalcy in these uncertain times.  Nothing is better than seeing people smiling and the happiness on people’s faces.”

The gingerbread villages are located at MADE by Millworks, 240 Pine Ave., and The Pie Bar, 450 Pine Ave and will be on view through Christmas. 

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].