Construction workers are readying their equipment to build very different types of houses this holiday season.
Piping bags, icing cement, gingerbread dry wall and candy shingles are in the arsenal of this year’s amateur and professional participants in the Gingerbread Lane competition at the Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge.
Christina Thigpen, director of marketing and public relations for Bissell Companies, said Gingerbread Lane is a popular annual holiday tradition at the Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge where members of the community as well as gusts of the hotel enjoy a collection of handmade gingerbread houses throughout the holiday season.
“Attendees may vote on their favorite gingerbread house with a $1 minimum donation per vote to determine the people’s choice winner,” Thigpen said. “All proceeds will benefit Levine Children’s Hospital, dedicated to caring for the physical and emotional needs of children and their families.”
The event, which began in 2004, is open to anyone, and Thigpen said entrants come from all areas of expertise.
“We have all kinds of entries – from professional cake makers to children.”
The participants provide all materials for the construction and decoration of their displays, Thigpen said, and all gingerbread displays must be made entirely of edible materials.
“No wood or cardboard materials may be incorporated into the house structures to be eligible for judging,” she said. “Gingerbread houses must be built upon a sound display board with a maximum surface of 3 feet by 3 feet. Houses built larger will be disqualified and not showcased.”
Thigpen said judges will consider presentation, creative expression and creative use of materials in their judging. Local media is invited to serve as guest judges.
Response and participation in the event has been overwhelmingly positive throughout the years, according to Thigpen.
“It has been great,” she said. “Entrants sometimes focus on a specific theme like Christmas in Paris or Dr. Seuss and others go for more traditional gingerbread design. We are always impressed with the creativity of the submissions. The number of entries varies from year to year, but usually we receive around 20 entries.”
Expectations for this year are high because of the positive history of the event.
“We are hoping for a wonderful turnout,” Thigpen said. “Members of the community look forward to this event every year and we encourage people to participate in a wonderful cause.
“It’s a joyous event for the entire family. Many locals make it an annual tradition. We encourage everyone to come out and vote for their favorite house. Our talented pastry team is working on a fabulous themed gingerbread display for the public to enjoy.”
Anyone interested in participating in Gingerbread Lane can access the registration form at www.theballantynehotel.com, under the “upcoming events” section. Applications are due by Dec. 3.