If visions of gingerbread houses have been cramming your dreams lately, it’s for good reason as the countdown to enter the United States’ largest gingerbread competition is five days away and counting.

This year will be a hybrid year, with some 2020 digital aspects still in play to ensure the competition lives on for future generations, as well as to allow those who don’t want to travel a way to see the top entries this year.

But for those who can’t wait to smell the gingerbread and bask in icing glory, the date to remember is Nov. 8, at which time entry forms are due for the 29th annual competition. This year, the event returns to live action at the historic Omni Grove Park Inn.

While designs do not have to be finalized by Nov. 8, gingerbread artists are encouraged to enter and begin dreaming up their dazzling designs for a chance to win cash, prizes and, of course, bragging rights.

This year’s panel of judges will include Chef Nicholas Lodge and Chef Carla Hall. In keeping with last year’s protocol, the competition will conduct the first round of judging virtually. This will enable documentation of the creation process, enhance the first round of the judging experience, and ensure the event will continue safely.

The second round of judging will be done in-person at the hotel in the Grand Ballroom similar to years past. All gingerbread entries will be reviewed in-person to ensure the integrity of the gingerbread creation.

Following the announcement of the winners, the gingerbread houses will go on public display Nov. 28 to Jan as the Omni Grove Park Inn will welcome families back to celebrate the festive tradition.

12 Days of Gingerbread

For those who may not travel this season, the hotel will continue “The 12 Days of Gingerbread,” that started in 2020 by releasing one of the Top 12 finalists per day on the hotel’s Facebook (@omnigroveparkinn) and Instagram (@omnigrovepark) channels from Dec. 1-12.

How It All Began

The Omni Grove Park Inn National Gingerbread House Competition started with a small group of gingerbread houses built by community members in 1992 as another way to celebrate the holiday season.

As the event grew, so did the caliber of judges and competitors, with nationally renowned food, arts and media professionals upping the ante of excitement. Over 29 years, the competition has attracted the highest quality of design, artistry and pastry expertise. The competition has merited broadcast coverage by NBC’s “TODAY Show,” ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the Travel Channel and the Food Network.

The gingerbread display has grown in more than just entries; it has become a family holiday tradition. From the very young to the very young at heart, the reaction to the magical experience is the same — one of wonder, awe and inspiration.

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