For the last four years, members of the troops have been building elaborate structures to participate in The History Center's Festival of Gingerbread. This year's event started Wednesday with Lighting Night and continues through Dec. 9. The History Center is open Monday through Thursday and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.
Troop members designed nine projects this year — including Christmas, Girl Scouts, go-karts and Old Fort themes — and Jessica Tarr, 10, Alena Gomez, 10, and Sarah Ihrie, 9 and team mom Kathy Gomez designed a hockey game featuring the Komets and Evansville IceMen. They had help on the final touches from Bree Winfree.
Sarah Lutz, 10, and Tarr wrote stories describing Chase's career and what he has meant to Fort Wayne. He's represented as part of the structure by his bobblehead doll, as is Komets mascot Icy D. Eagle.
The girls' creativity shows the planning involved. Ice cream cones are the goals, gingerbread men represent the players who are wearing cinnamon and peppermint candies for skates and even the gingerbread referee is wearing black stripes. A licorice gumdrop was cut in half for the puck, and cherry gumdrops serve as the lights behind each goal.
Even the two goaltenders are wearing white masks and are using Tootsie Rolls formed into sticks. Sitting in the Kit Kat bar bleachers are such dignitaries as Chase's wife Murph and former Komet Eddie Long and his wife Gayle.
The structure earned a third-place finish in the Festival of Gingerbread judging in the third-to-sixth-grade category.
``That's the most girls I've been around for a long time, and the nice thing about it is Murph would have approved,'' Chase said with a laugh after visiting the troops last week while they were working on their projects. ``That's amazing. They really put detail on it, and the amount of prep time they must have put in to put it together was something else. It was really, really nice. They really put a lot of energy into it.''
Last year, one of the groups within the troops designed another hockey game to honor the Komets' 60th anniversary season. This year's project greatly impressed Chase.
``Those are the kind of things that I've had in my activity file all my life,'' he said. ``Being around young people just rejuvenates you when you see how much fun they are having, how imaginative they were and everybody was a part of it all. They were very polite, but they were having a good time, and even at that young age, some of them knew who I was, which is really something.''
OnlineFor more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog www.tailingthekomets.com.
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