Talented gingerbread artists coast-to-coast recently came together to showcase their intricate, tasty creations in celebration of the 27th year of the National Gingerbread House Competition, hosted at The Omni Grove Park Inn.
Across all categories, 226 entries were received from foodies coast-to-coast challenging one another to win their share of more than $25,000 in cash and prizes at the storied Blue Ridge Mountain retreat, which is fully immersed in festive holiday spirit.
A panel of judges including nationally renowned food, arts and media professionals evaluated each gingerbread innovation based on overall appearance, originality/creativity, difficulty, precision and consistency of theme, with each entry required to be made of at least 75 percent gingerbread. The 2019 panel of pastry experts included Carla Hall, renowned celebrity chef, author and former television 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 nutritionist; Mark Seaman, the master sugar artist for Barry Callebaut; and head judge, Nicholas Lodge, the author of over one dozen sugar art books and instructional DVDs; and many others.
The 2019 winning entries in the categories of adult, teen, youth and child include:
Grand Prize Winner, Adult:
Gail Oliver, Johnson City, TN
Adult Second Place:
Beatriz Müller, Innisfil, Ontario
Adult Third Place:
Larry and Julia Vorpahl, Ellijay, GA
Teen (13- to 17-year-olds) First Place:
Courtland High German Program, Spotsylvania, VA
Teen Second Place:
Sarah and Jenna Rhinehart, Columbia, TN
Teen Third Place:
Institute of Innovation, Gaffney, SC
Youth (9- to 12-year-olds) First Place:
Anderson Adams, Raleigh, NC
Youth Second Place:
Evalyn Routh, Climax, NC
Youth Third Place:
Emma Rhinehart, Columbia, TN
Child (5- to 8-year-olds) First Place:
Adair Cary, Marshall, NC
Child Second Place:
The Tinker Kids, Lexington, KY
Child Third Place:
Glitter Girls, Blue Ridge, GA
In true holiday spirit, The Omni Grove Park Inn will be displaying all gingerbread creations now through Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 to visitors on a complimentary basis.
A $25 per car fee will be charged for all drive-in guests, with half of the parking proceeds going towards the following local nonprofit organizations: United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County; American Legion Baseball Post #70; Meals on Wheels of Asheville and Buncombe County; Asheville City Schools Foundation; Horizons at CDS; Children First/Communities in Schools; Asheville Museum of Science and Camp Watia Camper Scholarship Fund. Since 2013, The Omni Grove Park Inn has contributed over $430,000 through the Holiday Parking Program, supporting the local community and not-for-profit partners in western North Carolina.
Travelers interested in viewing one of the nations most celebrated and competitive holiday events can book the Gingerbread Holiday Package for stays through Monday, Dec. 30. Starting at $346 per night, the package includes luxurious accommodations, the Art of Breakfast buffet in the Blue Ridge Restaurant per registered guest, one gingerbread cookie per registered guest and overnight valet or self-parking (one vehicle per room). Guests can also pay it forward this season via Omni Hotels & Resorts’ “Say Goodnight to Hunger” program, which includes a donation to MANNA FoodBank for every stay at the resort. To reach the Gingerbread Hotline for the latest on all things gingerbread, call (800) 413-5778.
For more information or to make reservations, call (800) 438-5800 or visit www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park.