The scene at Einstein Bros. Bagels in Champaign.

Listen to this article

Karen Wood of Champaign had to be extra creative when making her annual eye-popping gingerbread displays.

She used royal icing to apply masks on all her gingerbread employees, intentionally positioned 6 feet apart in three displays now in lobbies at Einstein Bros. Bagels stores in Bloomington, Champaign and Urbana.

“The COVID pandemic influenced this year’s creation,” she said.

Wood and good friend Carol Lake spent close to 90 hours completing the yummy masterpieces, made to honor movie theaters of yesteryear. On display in Champaign, 803 W. Anthony Drive, and Urbana, 1401 W. Green St.: replicas of the Twin City Drive-In, which closed in 1981. Check them out when picking up carry-out orders.

“The movie now showing at these theaters is entitled ‘It’s NOT a wonderful life in 2020! It’s a DUD!’” said Wood, adding that she enjoyed the process nonetheless. “It was fun to have a normal activity in these COVID times.”

Email Jim Rossow at

Trending Videos