On Wednesday, July 6, The Omni Grove Park Inn announced the registration opening for the 30th National Gingerbread House Competition, the nation’s largest, hosted at the resort annually. The official rules and entry form have now been released on the hotel’s website, with new elements including specialty awards, increased prizes and more.
People of all ages and skill levels are invited to build whimsical cabins of candy, gumdrop-adorned castles and sugar-spun landscapes to compete for an opportunity to win a piece of more than $40,000 in cash and prizes, a 60 percent increase to years past, across the four age categories – Adult, Teen, Youth, and Child.
The resort has added six brand-new Specialty Awards including Best Use of Sprinkles, Most Unique Ingredient, Longest Standing Competitor, Best Use of Color, Pop Culture Star and Most Innovative Structure. Additionally, for the first time ever, all registered competitors will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite piece of the entire competition to determine the winner of the new People’s Choice: Best in Show Award. This year’s digital content submissions will be optional, although a description summary is still required.
This year, the competition will introduce a new 10th Judge, Ashleigh Shanti, chef/owner of Good Hot Fish and a 2020 James Beard finalist. The panel of returning competition judges include lead judge, Nicholas Lodge, the author of over one dozen sugar art books and instructional DVDs; Carla Hall, celebrity chef, author and TV personality; Nadine Orenstein, curator of the department of drawings and prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Cheryl Forberg, James Beard Award-winning chef and dietitian; Mark Seaman, the culinary applications chef for Barry Callebaut; Geoff Blount, pastry chef and teacher; John Cook, executive pastry chef at The Omni Grove Park Inn; Steven Stellingwerf, pastry chef, author and teacher; Aaron Morgan, executive pastry chef at the Stable Café on The Biltmore Estate.
“Gingerbread is a dynamic season at The Omni Grove Park Inn that means so much to all those involved,” says Susan Rotante, director of marketing and communications for the hotel. “From the competitors who spend thousands of hours creating masterpieces, to guests who witness the ginger-magic decked throughout these granite halls, to hotel staff who tirelessly plan and execute the event, and last, but not least, to the fifteen charities we support during the season that benefit our local area. Gingerbread is in our DNA, it’s a very special community that we respect and are grateful to be a part of.”
The 30th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition registration is now open through November 14, with the competition being held on November 21 and an awards ceremony following in the Grand Ballroom. Judging is closed to the public and the awards ceremony is reserved for contestants and their families only. The official Gingerbread display at the hotel begins on November 28, 2022 and will continue through January 2, 2023.