About a week before Thanksgiving the Grove Park Inn begins to set up their holiday displays, getting ready for their 18th National Gingerbread House Competition. This is an annual holiday event for my husband and I. Contestants from all over the country bring their baked masterpieces for the judging on November 15 by 12 elite judges. After this four hour competition, the resort's visual design team moves the 325 entries to selected locations throughout the hotel for viewing.
The grand prize winner and other selected entries will be transported during the week of December 18 to NYC for the 12th appearance on ABC's Good Morning America. The competition entries will also be featured in Paula Deen Cooking Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living and Family Circle.
Located way down the very end of the Vanderbilt Wing is the Grand Winner. With a very untraditional display, Grand Prize Winner this year is Heather Lewis of Austell Georgie. Heather is the lucky winner of a $3,000 cash prize, plus a two night Club Floor stay at The Grove Park Inn & Spa Resort, complete with dinner for two and breakfast daily at the historic hotel. All contestants receive a personalized certificate.
I thought most of the winning entries were very eclectic this year - the judges seem to choose the unusual over the traditional. The Adult (18 years and older) First Place winner is Angel Adkins, Kodak, Tennessee for her rocking horse.
I loved the Teen (13-17 years old) First Place by Skyla Delerme, Asheville, N.C. - it reminds me of the house and characters form the movie UP! Pretty impressive effort for that age group!
Interesting and well done is Youth (9-12 years old) First Place by Lydia Gentry, Hendersonville N.C.
Very elaborate work for Child (5-8 years old) First Place by Christian Ray, Charlotte N.C.
The gingerbread creativity featured themes running the gambit from castles to barnyards and country inns to windmills. Entries were judged on overall appearance, originality/creativity, difficulty, precision and consistency of theme. The National Gingerbread House Competition™ awards more than $12,000 in cash and prizes. All the entries are showcased all over the hotel on each level. It takes some walking to get to them all. Interspersed throughout are lovely wreaths and trees decorated for the season in many themes - that will fill another post.
Thanks for coming along on my annual visit to the gingerbread houses! Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving! See you later this week.