The 25 sculptures designed to look like gingerbread cookies in downtown Naperville may be covered with snow, but they're still smiling -- especially the three that captured the most votes from visitors in a contest sponsored by the Downtown Naperville Alliance.
The fan favorite among the decorated sculptures displayed throughout the holidays was "Equinox," which artist Laura Cavanaugh painted to depict the fall and winter seasons.
Sponsored by RiverWalk Family Dental, "Equinox" came in first as online votes cast by viewers of the holiday art were counted Thursday. Diana Piedra, office manager at RiverWalk Family Dental, said staff members were pleased to see the work of Cavanaugh, a patient for about 20 years and "the most amazing artist we know," earn the recognition.
"We are very excited about winning the contest," Piedra said Friday.
"DMi," a gingerbread creation painted by artist Matt Hebel to look like a yellow "minion" character from the movie "Despicable Me," brought home second place for sponsor DMI Hotels, and "Mr. Naperville," sponsored by Naperville Magazine and decorated by the Metea Valley High School National Honor Society, finished third.
The sculptures will remain in place until the middle of the month. Then, each sponsoring business or organization can decide whether to keep, donate or sell the creations.
Piedra said RiverWalk Family Dental is exploring options to put "Equinox" to charitable use.
"We probably will do something for charity. That's what our office is built upon, giving back to the community," she said.
The display of gingerbread sculptures was the second such holiday public art program in a row organized by Downtown Naperville Alliance, following a collection of 20 decorated snowmen set up in late 2012 and early 2013.