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Gentlemen of Grace lend a hand

Church brings its popular cookie walk back for the seventh year

Bruce Haney, left, and Rob Parmele assemble turtles for the cookie walk.

Bruce Haney, left, and Rob Parmele assemble turtles for the cookie walk.

— Under the tutelage of Casey Hamilton, a group of eight gentlemen got together on a recent Friday evening to try their collective hand at baking some treats. The best part is the fruits of their labor are up for grabs at the seventh annual Cookie Walk to be held Saturday, Dec. 1, at Grace Episcopal Church.

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Grace Episcopal cookie walk bakers include (front row, from left) Doug Claprood, Lou Santy, (back row, from left) Bruce Haney, Ted Houck, Peter Coyne, Casey Hamilton, Rob Parmele and Eric Merson.

Each year, Hamilton oversees a changing cast of willing bakers who contribute two or more special goodies.

“The guys want to help out, and we have a lot of fun doing it,” he said. “We try some new items from year to year. This year we’re making gingerbread men and turtles, but our rum balls are a constant. They’re a real crowd favorite and always sell out fast.”

The Grace Church Cookie Walk, held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until the cookies are sold out), serves as an unofficial kick-off to the Christmas season and features dozens upon dozens of homemade cookies and other seasonal treats for purchase by the pound. Busy shoppers can enjoy them immediately or freeze them to give as gifts, take to holiday parties or serve as one’s own to family and friends.

“What an amazing thing to see thousands of festive cookies displayed in a holiday wonderland,” said Kelly Hamilton, chairperson of the cookie walk. “People look forward to buying special cookies for their holiday get-togethers. My best advice is to come early for the best selection.”

Hamilton brought this concept to Central New York after seeing its success in New Bern, North Carolina. Guests “walk” through aisles of holiday cookies and then purchase their goodies by the pound. “Everybody gets involved and the whole parish has a great time getting into the holiday spirit,” she said. “We appreciate having the guys help out. The camaraderie is a big part of getting into the spirit.”

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