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2021 National Gingerbread Competition winners chosen at Omni Grove Park Inn

Courtesy of Omni Grove Park Inn
The Merry Mischief Bakers from Phoenix, AZ won the grand prize with “Christmas ‘Round the World.” ";s:3:

The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville hosted it’s 29th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition on Monday. The event was  in-person for the first time since the pandemic. 

Credit Courtesy of Omni Grove Park Inn
Courtland High German Program from Spotsylvania, VA won first place for teens with “Elves After Hours.”

There were over 120 entries ranging from an elaborate carousel and advent calendar to a giant gingerbread camera – all 100 percent edible and 75 percent made of gingerbread. Local author Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle hosted the event with famous foodie judges including Food Network star Carla Hall, MET curator Nadine Orenstein, executive pastry chef at The Omni Grove Park Inn John Cook and more. Clapsaddle’s book “Even As We Breathe” is set at the Grove Park Inn.  

The winners included gingerbread artists from across the country and Western North Carolina. The grand prize adult winners were “The Merry Mischief Bakers” from Arizona with “Christmas ‘Round the World”, the teen winner was Cortland High from Virginia with “Elves After Hours”  and the youth winner was Lolajay Wilson from Asheville with “Picture Perfect Holiday”. Parker Webster from South Carolina won in the children’s category with “Zoom with Santa.”   

Credit Courtesy of Omni Grove Park Inn
Lolajay Wilson from Asheville won first place for youth with “Picture Perfect Holiday,”

The gingerbread houses will be on display for the public starting November 28th through January 2nd after 3 p.m. on Sundays and anytime Monday – Thursday to drive-on visitors.  You will also be able to tour the gingerbread creations virtually starting December 1st.

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.