The Omni Grove Park Inn holds 30th National Gingerbread House Competition
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville held it’s 30th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition this year! The 219 entries are now on display at the resort for visitors to enjoy.
The more gingerbread houses were entered in the adult, teen, youth and child categories for a chance to win a piece of more than $40,000 in cash and prizes. The grand prize winner, Ann Bailey, of Cary, NC, won $7,500 for her “When Dreams Have Wings” creation.
We were able to speak with the resort’s Executive Pastry Chef John Cook about the competition.
“This year a big year for us. It’s our 30th anniversary. It’s like a huge family. Everyone comes together. They’ve been seeing each other grow and do these events for years. It’s really a great time for everyone to meet and see each other’s work,” Cook explained. “They all love coming here.”
When you hear gingerbread house competition, you may be picturing the type of gingerbread house you can build from a box. But these gingerbread creations are beyond next level!
Photos above: Grand Prize Winner & Adult First Place – Ann Bailey
Child First Place – Maisy Frahler from Greenville, S.C.
(Credit: The Omni Grove Park Inn)
“They have to be 100% edible. They have to be 75% gingerbread. However they can creatively use any type of food product to display and tell their story is fair game,” Cook explained. “You have everything from ginger clay to fondant to gingerbread itself, and they craft and manipulate the product to have some amazing creations.”
While the entries do not have to be houses, they do have to tell a story.
“They’ll send in their applications and let us know what their theme and their story is that they’re trying tell. So it doesn’t have to be a gingerbread house per say. It can be a story. It can be whatever they would like to tell us in gingerbread,” Cook said.
The Omni Grove Park Inn introduced six new Specialty Chef Nicholas Lodge Awards, renamed in loving memory of former lead judge Chef Nicholas Lodge. Inspired from past entries and the creative elements that competitors have introduced over the years, the Specialty Awards included “Best Use of Color,” “Best Use of Sprinkles,” “Most Unique Ingredient,” “Pop Culture Star,” “Most Innovative Structure,” and “Longest Standing Competitor.” Additionally, for the first time, registered competitors had the opportunity to vote on their favorite design to determine the winner of the new “People’s Choice: Best in Show Award.” Click here to view the winners. Spoilers: The furthest traveled competitor is from Guatemala!!
“My team and I build this giant gingerbread house in the lobby each year that we sell our craft beer out of, hot chocolate, gingerbread cookies,” he explained.
The structure will have you asking “this is real?”
You can enjoy your treats by of one of the gorgeous fireplaces inside or enjoy the mountain view outside.
A pro-tip from Jamarcus: Dip you gingerbread cookie in the hot chocolate. It’s so good!
The Omni Grove Park Inn is located at 290 Macon Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina 28804. The gingerbread creations will be displayed throughout the resort until January 2, 2023.
Guests not staying at the resort are welcome to view the displays anytime Monday – Thursday and after 6 p.m. on Sundays (excluding holidays and the following dates: December 23, 24, 25, 30, 31 and January 1).
You will have to pay for parking at the resort. Self-parking for day guests is $25 and $20 for overnight guests. A portion of the parking proceeds is donated to the community in support of local not-for-profit organizations.
If you would like to stay at The Omni Grove Park Inn, the resort is offering a Gingerbread Holiday Package.
For more information, visit the resort’s website by clicking here. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram.