Asheville, North Carolina
Gingerbread is not only the most traditional of Christmas cookies; it is also widely held to be the world’s most structurally sound edible substance. Whether or not this is a good thing is debatable. However, what is a fact is that the construction of gingerbread houses has become a wildly popular holiday tradition, and one that has been raised to an art form in recent years. This is amazingly demonstrated every year at the National Gingerbread House Competition which takes place every year at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina.
The National Gingerbread Competition was founded in 1993 as a local tourism gimmick. However, since 1998 it has been informally accepted by many as America’s defacto premier Gingerbread construction contest. It has grown from a humble twelve entries in its first year to a whopping 400 which are viewed by tens of thousands of awestruck visitors annually.
Entries are as varied as they are spectacular. Everything conceivable in gingerbread has made appearances, from the White House to London’s Tower Bridge to Noah’s Ark. There are gingerbread dioramas, gingerbread scenes and gingerbread toys. One recent winner was a gingerbread nesting doll featuring beloved Christmas characters.
The National Gingerbread House Competition takes place roughly from Thanksgiving week through New Year’s Day, at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, approximately 110 miles west of Charlotte, NC. Viewing of the competition is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays from 10:00am-10:00pm. There is no charge for admission. Web: www.groveparkinn.com (official website of the Grove Park Inn).