The Gingerbread House Competition receives extensive national media coverage each year. In 2014, the 22nd year for this Asheville event, the national competition begins on November 7, when entries are The Gingerbread House Competition receives extensive national media coverage each year. In 2014, the 22nd year for this Asheville event, the national competition begins on November 7, when entries are due. The judging takes place on November 17, and then the gingerbread houses will be displayed at the Omni Grove Park Inn from November 19 to January 1, 2015. The Inn is located in North Asheville, just minutes from Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds.
The viewing allows visitors to see which entries won prizes. The ribbons attached to winning entries show both the category — Adult, Teen, Youth, or Child — and the placing — 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or Top 10. The top three winners in each category receive cash prizes. For example, the 1st Place winner in the Adult category receives a $5,000 prize check, a two-night Club Floor stay at the Omni Grove Park Inn, a dinner for two, daily breakfast for two, a Prize Package from Chef Nicholas Lodge (including a two-day class at the Nicholas Lodge School in Atlanta, GA), and a blue ribbon.
While the prize might seem exorbitant, the competition is fierce, and every year, the bar gets raised as imaginations and technical prowess reach ever more wondrous heights. While the 2nd and 3rd prize winners each take home more than $1000 plus extras, the Teen, Youth, and Child categories pay out very little in comparison. Want to try your luck? Start making plans for next year!
The hotel limits the gingerbread house viewing on Saturdays and Sundays to hotel guests only. Visitors and other gingerbread house enthusiasts can view the creations on Thursdays through Sundays (excluding holidays). Drive-on guests are required to pay a $10 parking fee, half of which will be donated to local Asheville charities during this exhibition.
The trip is well worth the trouble, however, because in addition to seeing the nationally recognized gingerbread displays at this Asheville event, you can stroll among nearly 100 Christmas trees decorated in different themes. In addition, you can find numerous shops, cafes and fine dining restaurants throughout the hotel, as well as a variety of seasonal and holiday buffets. See the list of Omni Grand park Inn dining options.
Gingerbread Houses Aren’t Just Houses
The term “gingerbread house” is a bit of a misnomer because many of the finest creations are anything but houses. Expect to see seasonal themes, birds, outdoor scenes, fanciful lamps and bowls, nativity scenes, a carousel or two and cute animals among the more traditional houses made of the sweet confectionary.
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Judges use a set of criteria to rate the entries, which must be made out of at least 75 percent gingerbread. The entire display, with the exception of the base, must be edible. The other criteria judges use during the Asheville event include:
- Theme consistency
- Overall appearance
If you visit during the third week of December, you might miss the Grand Prize winner and a few other select entries. That’s the week that the finest of the fine sweet creations are carefully packed up and moved to New York City, where the competition takes center stage on the set of ABC’s Good Morning America
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The movers do everything in their powers to maintain the integrity of the exhibits so they can return to their place of honor in the halls of the Omni Grove Park Inn. Sometimes, the long trip takes a minor toll on the fragile gingerbread works of art, but you’ll be amazed at all
of them, including those made by the tiniest of hands.