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Get inspired to create your own gingerbread house

This $5000 grand-prize winning entry, “A ʻPeaceʼ of Life” by Kimberly Thalman of Franklin, WI, sits inside an acrylic case for protection as it rotates, granting a 360° view.

This $5000 grand-prize winning entry, “A ʻPeaceʼ of Life” by Kimberly Thalman of Franklin, WI, sits inside an acrylic case for protection as it rotates, granting a 360° view.

In our family, it’s a tradition to bake, build and decorate gingerbread houses each December. This year we expanded this ritual to include a visit to Asheville, NC to get a peek at the entries in the National Gingerbread House Competition at The Grove Park Inn.

Each November, contenders young and old truck their creations to Asheville to be judged in this annual competition. Entrants are divided into four categories: child (ages 5-9), youth (ages 9-12), teen (ages 13-17) and adult (18+). After the pieces are judged, the top ten structures from each category are displayed throughout the hotel. The contest, open to the public Sundays-Thursdays, draws crowds from all over the Southeast.

Entries must conform to size requirements, must be completely edible (save the plywood base) and be made of at least 75% gingerbread, some of which must be visible. Despite the contest name, structures do not have to be houses.

I don’t envy the judges, who have to choose from a number of incredibly detailed, well-conceived creations. Take a look at our slideshow of some of the top ten finalists in each category.

I didn’t see many Atlanta-area contestants among the finalists on display. Let’s change that next year, shall we?

If you need a little additional inspiration, take a look at the links below.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

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