Shannon Berrey

Gingerbread Houses: Grove Park Inn 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012


The National Gingerbread House Competition is a holiday tradition at The Grove Park Inn and my family looks forward to it each year. We headed out to Asheville the day before Thanksgiving. In its 20th year, more than 180 sculptures were entered and scored by a panel of elite judges whose backgrounds range from world-renowned sugar craft arts and pastry chefs to cookbook authors, a cake baker for the stars and a curator for the Metropolitan Museum in NYC.

Judges look at consistency of theme, overall appearance, originality, creativity, difficulty and precision when deciding the winning gingerbread houses each year. The designs must also be made of at least 75 percent gingerbread, be completely edible and they can not exceed 2 ft tall by 2 ft wide. There are 3 winners in each category - Child, Youth, Teen, and Adult. The grand prize winner receives more than $7,500 in cash and prizes. For the first time this year, the inn also awarded $1,000 to the entry that traveled the farthest to compete.

 Loved this sweet gingerbread Thanksgiving meal in the child division.

Jerry's up to his old tricks and Tomcat's in for a bad deal, I'm afraid.

 The Muppets Christmas won 1st prize in the Teen category.  

And this was the 2nd place Teen winner--Polar Express. Amazing talented kids.  

I love the displays that you have to walk all the way around to see all of the great details.  



 I hope you can see the paned glass in the doors and windows. Made of sugar?

 Hope you're hungry kids, cause it's your favorite...miniature babies!! (??)

 Another youth entry--A House of Cards. I love all of the rose topiaries.

The 3rd place teen winner--Yellow Submarine. I thought this one was pretty fantastic and her stylized interpretation of John, Paul, George and Ringo is so fun.  


This pretty peacock was one of my favorites in the youth category

The Old Mill by Lydia Gentry of Hendersonville, was the 1st place winner in the childs division. This marked the 5th straight year of winning for Lydia! She came up with idea and pattern in September when she found a picture of an old mill. Her baking started in October. Once the gingerbread for the mill and its waterwheel were baked, Lydia glued the structure in place with a paste made from powdered sugar and egg whites. She painted frosting on small pieces of the chewing gum shingles before placing them on the roof and scoured stores for the chocolate candy rocks she wanted to place around the base of the mill. She covered ice cream cones with green frosting to make her trees and mixed red food coloring with water to create the perfect shade of red frosting for the siding on her mill. Lydia says that this is her last year competing as she will be in high school next year and won't have the 4-5 hours a day to dedicate to house building. {smart girl :) }  


A sweet traditional gingerbread house in the child category.  




I read the name of this one and was like 'umm...misprint?' I had no idea what 'Fahoo Fores Dahoo Dores' meant, but my kids explained that they are lyrics from a Dr. Suess Christmas song. Apparently, in the story, they stand around the tree and sing these lyrics. Obviously it's been awhile since I have read any Dr. Suess.






Look at the cute ribbon-tied burlap wrapped bases of the trees at the Recycle Ranch. Complete with the recycle bins and instructions on reusing your Christmas decor.  



Each door of this house hid a present for the 24 days leading up to Christmas.  

A peak inside a little brick bistro in Paris.

Can you imagine the number of hours the 12 days of Christmas house took??

And a view of all of the leaping lords.

I always love the nativity scenes and the sweet expressions on the animals faces.


Holiday Hoedown had something to offer at every angle.



I would love to watch them make the ball mason glasses, wouldn't you??

And check out the detail of the little crochet 'linen' on top of the chest.


Amazing detail.

This was my favorite! A partridge in a pear tree that truly looked like it was carved out of wood. Every leaf was so detailed and placed perfectly. And look inside the flowers at the delicate little stamens. The copper bowl looks like, well...copper. Check out the round wood base--it's not wood, just painted to look like wood. I hate that I failed to get the artists name in my picture. I would love to see her portfolio!    

And this was the Grand Prize winner, Ann Bailey of Cary NC, featuring The Three Wisemen. This beauty is behind glass and rotates so that you can appreciate all of its amazingness. There is so much to take in--the draping of the robes, the sheen of the leather pouches, the turquoise accents on the boots and in their headdress, all of the layers of necessities on the camels back..

and then there is the back--the amazing grain and color of the wood door, the textures in the stone wall and the hand forged iron hardware. What amazing talent! I certainly agree that this was the most impressive creation.

If you want to visit the Grove Park to see the houses but don't plan on staying overnight at the Inn, plan on viewing Monday-Thursday {Friday-Sunday are reserved for guests} now until Jan. 2. If you can't make it, then look for the top winners on 'Good Morning America' the week of Christmas.







If you want to look at last years beautiful houses, view my post here.  


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Shannon Berrey Bio
I'm an artist, interior designer, wife and mom. Join me here as I share projects, ramblings, and inspirations.
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