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The 28th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition Perseveres Through Pandemic To Celebrate Top Culinary Talent Of All Ages

December 15, 2020 GMT
Omni Hotels & Resorts (PRNewsfoto/Omni Hotels & Resorts)
Omni Hotels & Resorts (PRNewsfoto/Omni Hotels & Resorts)

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Dec. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Winners of The 28th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition have finally been unveiled following The Omni Grove Park Inn ’s decision to take the beloved holiday tradition virtual. Across all categories, nearly 100 entries of one-of-a-kind, over-the-top festive gingerbread designs were submitted from around the country as competitors hoped to win a piece of $25,000 in cash and prizes.


A combined virtual and in-person panel of judges, including top national culinary talent evaluated each confection based on strict guidelines including overall appearance, originality/creativity, difficulty, precision and consistency of theme, with each entry required to be made of at least 75 percent gingerbread. Returning judge and renowned celebrity chef, author and former television personality, Carla Hall along with judges Chef Geoff Blount, Chef Nicholas Lodge & Chef John Cook took their Gingerbread duties to the next level by joining the property’s new online cooking course, Baking Spirits Bright: Gingerbread Making Class Series.

The 2020 winning entries in the categories of adult, teen, youth and child include:

Grand Prize Winner, Adult: The Merry Mischief Bakers, “St. Nick’s Christmas Décor Shop” - Phoenix, AZ

Adult Second Place: Ann Bailey, “This Place Called Home” - Cary, NC

Adult Third Place: Thomas Blake Hogan, “Sea Questered” - Kansas City, MO

Teen (ages 13-17) First Place: The Rhinehart Sisters, “Peace, Love, Joy” - Columbia, TN

Teen Second Place: The Toccoa Titans, “Arctic Wonders” - Blue Ridge, GA

Teen Third Place: Julia Kincaid, “The Gingerbread Christmas Pyramid” - Winston Salem, NC


Youth (ages 9-12) First Place: The Sugar Squad, “Santa Stop” - Marshall, NC

Youth Second Place: Emma Rhinehart, “Merry Minions” - Columbia, TN

Youth Third Place: Perry Reid, “Christmas…2020” - Travelers Rest, SC

Child (ages 5-8) First Place: The Glitter Girls, “A Mermaid Christmas” - Blue Ridge, GA

Child Second Place: Vincent Freeland, “Jack is Back” - Conover, NC

Child Third Place: Lucille Gomes, “Roughing It” - Asheville, NC

While The Omni Grove Park Inn will be forgoing a public Gingerbread House display this year to prioritize the safety of its resort guests and local community, there are still plenty of ways for Gingerbread fans to stay involved!

Virtual Activities for Fans At-Home:

  • Baking Spirits Bright: Gingerbread Making Class Series: Now through Jan. 21, 2021, learn how to make Gingerbread Houses at-home via a three-part series featuring All-Star Chefs & Competition Judges (including celebrity chef, Carla Hall). A portion of the proceeds goes to ACFEF’s Chef & Child Initiative so the more you bake, the bigger difference you make. Class takers also receive 15% off future stays Jan. - Mar. ’21 and have access to the classes until October 2021. Check www.omnihotels.com/bakingspiritsbright for details.
  • 12 Days of Gingerbread: Visit The Omni Grove Park Inn’s 12 Days of Gingerbread landing page here to see top winning designs and behind-the-scenes content of all things Gingerbread!

In-House Guest Activities:

  • Best In Dough: Gingerbread Finalist Showcase: A rare view of The National Gingerbread House Competition Finalists’ entries via a docu-style film for hotel guests now through Jan. 3. Including interviews with Competitors, Judges and 360 footage of the finalists’ confectionary creations to create an up-close experience. Tickets are available exclusively to overnight guests to ensure safety measures remain intact and can be reserved as part of their stay.
  • Stay A Part of Holiday Magic: This winter, stay a part of holiday magic with up to 15% off our best available rates. Enjoy late checkout and a taste of The National Gingerbread House Competition with an exclusive gingerbread welcome gift. Guests can pay it forward via Omni Hotels & Resorts’ ” Say Goodnight to Hunger ” program, which includes a donation to MANNA Food Bank for every stay.
  • The Great Gingerbread House: The Great Hall has been transformed into a holiday destination, with a life-sized Gingerbread House modeled after the historic hotel. Guests can enjoy house made hot chocolate, specialty craft brews and sweet treats by the glow of the iconic Grove Park Inn fireplaces.

Safety First:

  • Enjoying the hotel grounds this season will be available for guests with confirmed reservations (e.g., dining, rooms, etc.). For those who arrive without a reservation during high occupancy times, admittance onto the property will not be guaranteed, and will be subject to capacity protocols to ensure safety restrictions remain intact.

As in years past, a $25 per car fee will be charged for all drive-on day guests with a portion 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 $535,000 through the Holiday Parking Program, supporting the local community and not-for-profit partners in Western North Carolina.

For Baking Spirits Bright pricing & information, visit: https://www.omnihotels.com/bakingspiritsbright

To view images of the complete list of winning gingerbread displays, visit here. Images of winning entries from last year’s competition are available here. For more information or to make reservations, call (800) 438-5800 or visit www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park.

About The Omni Grove Park Inn
Set in the idyllic Blue Ridge Mountains and just minutes from downtown Asheville, N.C., The Omni Grove Park Inn provides a one-of-a-kind escape for modern day travelers. The award-winning, 513-room resort originally opened in 1913, showcases a wide range of Arts & Crafts furnishings from Stickley and Roycroft throughout guest areas, guestrooms and suites. Following the renovation of the Vanderbilt Wing in 2013, The Inn revealed the redesign of the historic Sammons Wing’s 204 guestrooms in 2017. The world-class Spa is an experience like no other, with 43,000 square feet of subterranean space and an array of unique treatments incorporating indigenous elements. The resort’s historic 18-hole Donald Ross golf course is considered among the top golf experiences in North Carolina, and the Sports Complex includes indoor and outdoor tennis courts. The Inn also focuses on local ingredients and chef driven menus in their four signature restaurants, each offering panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Omni Grove Park Inn is well suited for meetings, weddings and events, with 26 meeting rooms and two ballrooms totaling over 58,000 square feet, including the Skyline Room and Mountain View Terrace. The Inn’s newest event addition is the Seely Pavilion with 3,260 square feet of function space, exposed trusses, and six pairs of picturesque, floor-to-ceiling doors and windows, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain range. To get additional information or book accommodations, visit omnihotels.com or call 1-800-The-Omni.

About Omni Hotels & Resorts
Omni Hotels & Resorts creates genuine, authentic guest experiences at 60 distinct luxury hotels and resorts in leading business and leisure destinations across North America. With more than 25 iconic golf courses and 16 award-winning spas featured in dynamic locales nationwide, every Omni proudly opens its doors to share the true spirit of its destination. Reflected through local color, personalized service, unique wellness options, signature restaurants and creative culinary offerings, Omni leaves a lasting impression with every guest and a heightened level of recognition and rewards delivered through its Select Guest loyalty program. As a founding member of the Global Hotel Alliance, Select Guest is further expanded through the DISCOVERY® loyalty program offering members additional global benefits. Omni is committed to reducing hunger and is on a mission through its Say Goodnight to Hunger initiative to provide millions of meals each year for food banks to feed children, families and seniors in communities in which it operates. Omni Hotels & Resorts is the official hotel of the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions. For information or to book accommodations, visit omnihotels.com or call 1-800-The-Omni.

Media Contact:

Resort Contact:

Suzanne Joyella

Susan Rotante

Current Global

Director of Public Relations & Community Outreach

(212) 445-8402

(828) 252-2711 x5000



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