ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WJHL)- It all started when a few community members decided to show off their gingerbread houses at the Grove Park Inn during Christmas of 1992.
“We would have never guessed that 25 years later we would it be kind of the most famous largest and most, greatest gingerbread house competition in the nation,” Tracey Johnston-Crum said.
Now it’s a nationally renown Christmas tradition, the National Gingerbread House Competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville. You’ll see it spotlighted on a national stage from from Good Morning America to Southern Living Magazine.
People enter the competition from all over the country and Canada. We even found some from the Tri-Cities in two Top 10 categories. This year, Gail Oliver of Johnson City placed in the Top 10 in the adult category for a second year in a row.
And another piece of home is in the teen Top 10 with a “Cherokee Christmas” from students in Church Hill.
There are multiple categories from child to adult, allowing kids as young as five to enter.
Johnston-Crum said she sees contestants spend up to 900 hours on their creations.
“These are not just houses they truly are masterpieces, they are works of art,” Johnston-Crum said.
There are no short cuts, it all must be 100 percent edible.
“They always drill a little hole into some of them to make sure that nothing else is holding them up like wood or cardboard,” Johnston-Crum said.
Once you’ve put in the long hours and meticulous work, then comes what can be the most challenging part, the journey from home to the Grove Park Inn. No matter if you’re driving 20 hours or 20 minutes, it’s a nerve-wracking journey. Johnsonston-Crum said there has even been tragedy in the parking lot.
But it all adds to the excitement of seeing the final masterpieces, a tradition that brings many families back year after year.
If you want to go see the creations, it’s not too late. The event runs until January 4th. It’s open to the public Sunday after 3 p.m. and all day Monday through Thursday.
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