The nation’s largest gingerbread house contest celebrates 30 years with six brand new specialty awards and the first-ever People’s Choice award

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ASHEVILLE, NC, November 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The largest in the country Annual National Gingerbread House Competition™ back before the 30e years at The Omni Grove Park Inn following the introduction of new special awards, a new judge, increased prices and more. Two hundred and nineteen participants in a gingerbread house in the Adult, Teen, Youth and Child categories had the chance to win a piece of more than $40,000 in money and pricesa 60 percent increase to past years.

The Omni Grove Park Inn introduced six new Specialty Chef Nicholas Lodge Awardsrenamed in loving memory of former Chief Judge Chef Nicholas Lodge. Inspired by past entries and the creative elements our competitors have introduced over the years, the Specialty Awards include “Best Use of Color,” “Best Use of Sprinkles,” “Most Unique Ingredient,” “Pop Culture Star,” Most Innovative Structure’ and ‘Longest Existing Competitor’. In addition, for the first time registered participants had the opportunity to vote for their favorite design to determine the winner of the new “People’s Choice: Best in Show Award.”

This year’s panel of judges evaluated each creation based on appearance, originality, creativity, difficulty, precision and theme consistency, with each entry required to be 75 percent gingerbread and 100 percent edible. Judges came forward Carla Hall, celebrity chef, author and TV personality; new judge Ashleigh Shanti, Chef/Owner of Good Hot Fish and 2020 James Beard Finalist; leading judge Mark Zeemanculinary applications chef for Barry Callebaut; Nadine Orensteincurator of the drawings and prints department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Cheryl Forberg, James Beard award-winning chef and dietitian; Jeff Blountpastry chef and teacher; John Kokpastry chef at The Omni Grove Park Inn; Steven Stellingwerf, pastry chef, author and lecturer; and Aaron MorganPastry Chef at the Stable Café on The Biltmore Estate.

The top three winning entries of 2022 in the Adult, Teen, Youth and Child categories include:
Grand Prize Winner, Adult First Place: Anna Bailey“If dreams have wings” – Cary, NC
Adult second place: Beatriz Muller“The Time of Christmas Past” – Cold water, ON
Adult third place: Tiny Farm Bakers, “Merry Mountain Mayhem” – Montreal, NC

Teen (age 13-17) First place: Rhineheart girls,”Fairy tea house” – Columbia, TN
Teen second place: Courtland High School German Program, “Clara’s Dream” – Spotsylvania, VA
Third Place Teen: Lolajay, “A merry ‘sort of’ Christmas” – Asheville, NC

Youth (ages 9-12) First place: cable AdamsSanta Yoda and his baby elves” – Raleigh, N.C
Youth second place: Hailey Wesolek“Christmas in the Treehouse” – Swanannoa, NC
Youth third place: Ella Frahler“Workbench of a Sewing Elf” – Greenville, SC

Child (Ages 5-8) First Place: Maisy Frahler“Christmas Morning Paper Dolls” – Greenville, SC
Child second place: Team Tinker, “The Christmas Chapel” – Lexington, Kentucky
Child third place: Glitter Girls, “Mrs Claus’s Fairies” – Toccoa, GA

The very first People’s Choice: Best in Show Award 2022 was presented to:
Audience Award: Best in Show Award: Jessica Frost“Motor of America” ​​- El Paso, Texas

The 2022 winners of the six new Chef Nicholas Lodge Awards are:
Best use of color: Lovers of difficult desserts, “Inside Out Christmas Party” – Fuquay-Varina, NC
Best use of sprinkles: Odyssey 3-4 Seekers, “The Ginger Ridge Parkway” – Asheville, NC
Most Unique Ingredient: Strangest Sisters, “Vecna’s Lair” – Asheville, NC (using Nori)
Most innovative structure: Team Andreacola, “National Museum of Gingerbread” – Indian Trail, NC
Pop culture star: cable Adams“Santa Yoda and His Baby Elves” – Raleigh, N.C
Longest standing participant: Merry Spafford“Mother Goose on the Loose” – Loudon, TN (after competing for 19 consecutive years)

The 2022 winner for the participant who traveled the furthest:
Participant who traveled the furthest: Beatritz Mejia, “Santa Academy” Guatemala

The competition began with a small group of gingerbread houses built by community members in 1992 and has grown into one of the most competitive holiday events in the country. Other ways to celebrate the 30th Annual National Gingerbread House Contest this year include:

  • Gingerbread Display 2022: In true holiday spirit, The Omni Grove Park Inn will personally display all gingerbread creations throughout the resort November 28, 2022January 2, 2023. All Fridays and Saturdays are reserved for registered resort guests and guests with confirmed dinner reservations. Guests not staying at the resort are invited to view the display anytime Monday through Thursday and beyond 6 p.m. on Sundaybased on available parking spaces and excluding public holidays and December 23-2530-31 and January 1st. Access to the exhibition is subject to hotel capacity, including pedestrian traffic.
  • The big gingerbread house: The Great Hall at The Omni Grove Park Inn has reintroduced a life-sized gingerbread house modeled on the historic hotel, thousands of twinkling lights, and more than 80 illuminated trees throughout the resort. Guests can enjoy house-made hot chocolate, a specialty craft brew in collaboration with Highland Brewing, and sweet treats by the glow of the iconic fireplaces.
  • Gingerbread Holiday Package: For stays from November 22December 30, 2022the property welcomes gingerbread lovers to indulge themselves Gingerbread holiday package including a holiday gingerbread cookie, luxury accommodations, daily breakfast at The Blue back farm-to-table artisan buffet restaurant, and overnight valet parking or parking garage.
  • 12 Days Gingerbread: As a virtual alternative, the hotel will continue “The 12 Days of Gingerbread” by featuring one of the Top 12 finalists per day on the hotel’s Facebook (@omnigroveparkinn) and Instagram (@omnigrovepark) December 1 – 12, 2022 to spark Ginger innovation during the holiday season.
  • Holiday parking program: During the fall and holiday season, a $25 a self-parking fee is charged per car for drive-on day guests with a portion of parking revenue donated to the community to support 15 local non-profit organizations in Western North Carolina. Since the start of the program in 2013, the hotel has more than contributed $680,000 to local charitable partners. The list of Parking Partners Autumn & Holidays 2022 can be found here here.

For more information about The Omni Grove Park Inn, call (800) 438-5800 or visit For more information about The 30e Annual National Gingerbread House Competition™, call (800) 413-5778 or visit

About the Omni Grove Park Inn

Located in the idyllic Blue Ridge Mountains and just minutes from downtown Asheville, NC, The Omni Grove Park Inn offers a unique escape for modern travelers. Originally opened in 1913, the award-winning 513-room resort showcases a wide variety of Arts & Crafts furnishings from Stickley and Roycroft in the guest cottages, guest rooms, and suites. Following the 2013 renovation of the Vanderbilt wing, The Inn unveiled the redesign of the historic Sammon’s Wings 204 rooms in 2017. The world-class spa is an experience like no other, with 43,000 square feet of underground space and a range of unique treatments incorporating indigenous elements. The resort’s historic 18 holes Donald Ross golf course is considered one of the best golfing experiences in North Carolina, and the sports complex includes indoor and outdoor tennis courts. The inn also focuses on local ingredients and chef menus in their four signature restaurants, each with 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. For more information or to book accommodations, visit or call 1-800-The-Omni.

About Omni Hotels & Resorts

Omni Hotels & Resorts creates genuine, memorable guest experiences at more than 50 different hotels and resorts in the country’s most popular vacation and business destinations the United Statesas well as major destinations Canada. With over 25 iconic golf courses and multiple short courses, 24 award-winning spas in dynamic locations across the country, each Omni proudly opens its doors to share the true spirit of its destination. Reflected by local color, personalized service, unique wellness options, signature restaurants and creative culinary offerings, Omni leaves a lasting impression with every guest and an elevated level of recognition and rewards delivered through its Select Guest® loyalty program. Omni is committed to reducing hunger and, through the Say Goodnight to Hunger initiative, has a mission to provide millions of meals each year to food banks to feed children, families and seniors in communities where it operates. Through its partnership with Shared Hope International, Omni is committed to educating and training its employees to help combat human trafficking. Omni Hotels & Resorts is the Official Hotel of the PGA TOUR® and PGA TOUR Champions. For information or to book accommodations, visit or call 1-800-The-Omni.

SOURCE The Omni Grove Park Inn

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