Wayside hosts gingerbread house competition

Calling all gingerbread architects and icing landscapers.

The Middletown Garden Club invites gingerbread house builders to submit their creations in an inaugural competition held at the Wayside Inn next month.

The Gingerbread House Competition is open to anyone, and there is no fee to enter.

Contest organizer Faith Harbaugh said she got the idea after learning about the National Gingerbread House Competition held annually in Asheville, North Carolina.

Although Middletown’s contest most likely won’t field as many houses as the hundreds of submissions entered into the national competition — a gingerbread chess set won it this year — Harbaugh said she hopes it will match the success of the Winchester Habitat for Humanity competitions held more than a decade ago.

People can submit their entries into one of five categories: professional, adult (18 and older), teen (13 to 17 years old), youth (9 to 12 years old) and child (5 to 8 years old).

Harbaugh said a panel of three judges will determine the first, second and third place winners out of each age group, as well as award a trophy to the overall “best in show” winner.

Criteria for judging includes overall appearance, originality and creativity, precision and consistency of theme, which is “Home for the Holidays.”

All houses must be made primarily of gingerbread, constructed of edible materials only and are limited to a space of 2 feet wide, 2 feet deep and 2 feet high. The houses are required to be built on a sturdy base material.

Other than that, Harbaugh said, the only rule is to have fun.

“Use your imagination,” she said. “There’s no wrong choices. It’s all about having fun.”

Completed entry forms must be received at the Wayside Inn by Dec. 5. Entry forms are available by calling Harbaugh at 540-664-4897 or by emailing innkeeper@waysideinn1797.com.

Completed houses must be delivered to the inn between Dec. 8 and 10.

Judging is scheduled for Dec. 11. The entries are available for viewing at the inn from Dec. 12 to 21.

“I can’t wait to see them,” Harbaugh said. “I think Wayside is going to be gorgeous for the holidays.”

The houses will be available for pick-up on Dec. 22 and 23.

Harbaugh said she wants to make the contest an annual event, and plans to auction off next year’s gingerbread houses to raise money for charity.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com