ASHEVILLE N.C. – On Saturday, Nov. 17, a full house of spectators and anxious competitors gathered for the awards ceremony of the 20th anniversary of The Grove Park Inn National Gingerbread House Competition. There were 182 entries that were judged throughout the day by a panel of elite judges whose backgrounds range from world-renowned sugar craft arts and pastry chefs to cookbook authors, a cake baker for the stars and a curator for the Metropolitan Museum in NYC.
“I was here for our very first National Gingerbread House Competition twenty years ago. I don't believe anyone could have visualized the masterpieces of edible creations that we would see today," said Ronald E. Morin, Vice President and General Manager at The Grove Park Inn. Our judges expressed the same sentiments on Saturday, when they had the difficult task of choosing the finalists, not just in the adult category but for all age groups. While in awe of the details crafted by a five-year-old, you have to wonder what the entries will look like in another 20 years - impossible to imagine. The only thing we can be certain of is that we will keep this holiday tradition alive for future generations well after we turn a grand 100-years-old in 2013."
Entries were judged on overall appearance, originality/creativity, difficulty, precision and consistency of theme. Except for the base, the entries must be constructed entirely of edible materials. This year the cash and prizes nearly doubled. The Grand Prize Winner received $7500 in cash and prizes.
High-res images of the winning entries are available at: http://www.groveparkinn.com/media-room
Winners in this year’s National Gingerbread House Competition are:
Grand Prize Winner (First Place – Adult): Ann Bailey, Cary, NC
Adult (18 years and older):
Second Place: Linda Carney, Asheville, NC
Third Place: Glenda Tant, Lebanon, TN
Teen (13-17 years old):
First Place: Carly Owens – Swannanoa, NC
Second Place: Mary Figueroa, Fishers, Indiana
Third Place: Lilli McFerrin, Black Mountain, NC
Youth (9-12 years old):
First Place: Lydia Gentry, Hendersonville, NC
Second Place: Carly and Carter Cantrell, Cookeville, TN
Third Place: Grace Lebo, Nashville, TN
Child (5-8 years old):
First Place: Briley Ervin, of Greenback, TN
Second Place: Miss Howie’s first-grade class from Black Mountain Primary School, Black Mountain, NC
Third Place: Shan Patel, Asheville, NC
Farthest geographical distance traveled:
In honor of the 20th anniversary, The Grove Park Inn awarded $1,000 to Mary Jo Dowling and Barb Evans, of Westford, MA who also were among the top ten winners in the Adult Category.
All entries from The National Gingerbread House Competition will be displayed at The Grove Park Inn from November 20th, 2012 through January 2nd, 2012 and is free of charge. Beginning November 19 there will be a parking fee to control the volume of visitors. The public viewing times that have been in place for years but have not been strictly adhered to, allows daytime (non-overnight guests) to visit Monday – Thursdays (excluding Fridays – Sundays, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day) to view the Gingerbread display and expanded holiday décor. Outdoor parking will be $10, garage $12 and valet $15 – per car. We encourage you to ride the Asheville City bus or a trolley and leave your car at home. Every weekend you can get a sneak preview of some of the top gingerbread winners at The Grove Arcade.