The winning gingerbread house - "Dream House" (Image courtesy of The Omni Grove Park Inn)
The National Gingerbread House Competition is held annually in Asheville, North Carolina just before the start of the Christmas season. Taking place November 21st of this year, the event is a chance to showcase some of the best gingerbread house artistry this country has to offer.
The competition started in 1992 as a way for that community’s members to display their gingerbread houses in The Omni Grove Park Inn's great hall. That eventually led to prizes being handed out for the best entries, and that has grown to a massive competition that receives nearly 150 submissions every year.
Experts including sugar or pastry artists, museum curators, or authors of books on gingerbread judge the submissions.  Each gingerbread house is given between 1 and 10 points in a variety of categories and the house earning the most total points is declared the winner.
As far as rules are concerned, the competition is fairly simple: Houses must be edible, consist of 75% gingerbread, and be smaller than a two-foot square box.

This year’s grand prize winner in the adult division came from Beatriz Muller of Innisfil, Ontario, Canada.  Her take on a Gothic-style, multi-story home is elaborate and skillful.

Second place went to Glenda Tant from Lebanon, Tennessee.  Her display features tiny fairies frolicking beneath a sparkling bouquet of edible poinsettia flowers.

Image courtesy of The Omni Grove Park Inn

Third place was Linda Carney of Asheville. Her sculpture depicts two gingerbread cookies baking gingerbread.

Image courtesy of The Omni Grove Park Inn

The competition also featured child, youth, and teen categories. You can see all the winners here.

The winning creations will be on display through January 5, 2017. A holiday outdoor parking program charges $10, raising money for several not-for-profit groups.