Bergen rebuilds its 'Gingerbread City'

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Hundreds of new gingerbread houses are already streaming into a pavilion in downtown Bergen, where citizens aim to build an even bigger

Pepperkakeby (Gingerbread City) than the one razed by vandals during the weekend. Police arrested two suspects, aged 21 and 26, Monday evening but released them during the night.Police were reluctant to reveal much information about the two men or the circumstances leading to their arrest. A bishop in Bergen already has warned about a “lynch mentality” in the west coast city, after vandals destroyed the vast collection of gingerbread houses decorated by thousands of children.

The men were arrested around 7pm Monday evening and questioned for several hours before police let them go around midnight. They remain charged, but a police attorney told the web site for newspaper Bergens Tidende (bt.no) early Tuesday that their case against them had been weakened.

A reward has been offered for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for vandalizing what was supposed to be the largest collection of gingerbread houses in the world.Thousands of children had spent most of Saturday assembling and decorating around 650 of what’s called pepperkakehus in Norwegian, only to see their work destroyed during the night.

Angry but determined bakers went back to work Sunday and by Monday were delivering new gingerbread houses to the pavilion, where civic leaders sponsoring the annual event were cleaning up and ready to rebuild.

Appeals went out for the rebuilding effort and now organizers of the pre-Christmas tradition i Bergen think they’ll set a new record with more than 1,000 gingerbread houses on display, hopefully by next week.

“We will work day and night to rebuild Gingerbread City,” architect Kjersti Hjelmeland Brakstad told Bergens Tidende .