Gingerbread can come in many forms – it can be hard or soft, baked as a loaf or as cookies, served with a lemon glaze or none at all, but in all cases it contains some form of ginger. Some recipes call for dried, powdered ginger, others for crystallized, and even some for fresh. The original gingerbread recipe is believed to have originated in England, around the 1640’s and by the 1800’s it had become very popular and was eaten on a regular basis. Other staples in most gingerbread recipes are honey, molasses or treacle. These typically take the place of honey.
Usually fashioned in the most commonly recognised shape of a gingerbread man with his arms stretched side-wards and wearing a huge smile. Gingerbread men have been a Christmas favorite over many years where they are baked in the oven and hung on the Christmas tree as part of the decoration, to be eaten at a later time. The Germans are well known for their gingerbread, which is called Lebkuchen which can either mean cake of life or loaf cake depending on how you say it. However, it is also very often made into gingerbread houses using slabs of baked gingerbread which is modelled and decorated to resemble a house and used to commemorate the Brothers’ Grimm story of Hansel and Gretel. Speaking of which, according to the Guinness World Records, the largest gingerbread house ever built was done so in 2006 by Roger Pelcher at the Mall of America in Minnesota. It was more than 45 feet long, 35 feet wide and 60 feet tall.
The Miami Valley celebrates the Gingerbread House with 2 holiday competitions:
The Dayton Holiday Festival 8th annual Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays Contest in conjunction with the 2013 Grande Illumination
Everyone is invited to participate. Entries will be displayed in the Old Court House at the corner of Third & Main Streets in Downtown Dayton.
Two $500 Cash Prizes Will Be Awarded! Categories include a professional division, and Amateur Adults, teens and kids 12 and under. First place in each category will receive a sweet prize package featuring a variety of prize items. Awards will also be given to second and third place in each category. One house out of all the amateur entries and one house from the professional category will be selected as the “Best House on the Block” and will each receive a $500 cash prize for being the best in show! Winners will be notified after judging is completed and will have an opportunity to be recognized on the Main Stage on Courthouse Square before the tree lighting ceremony on
Friday, November 29. Deadline for entry forms is Friday, November 22nd.
- Each entry must be submitted on a wooden or plastic base.
- The size of the structure’s base support shall not exceed 20”x20”.
- The structure can be made from gingerbread, cardboard, or a purchased kit.
- All exposed surfaces of the structure and all decorations must be covered with edible materials (with the exception of the base/foundation).
- Battery operated lights are permitted; however they must be inside the structure and turned on by the entrant.
- Designs may be any structure such as houses, public buildings, businesses, etc.
- Judging will be based on overall appearance, neatness, creativity, and best use of materials.
- Anyone who currently or previously has received payment for their cake/pastry skills or is a trained professional needs to enter the Professional category in this contest.
- Cash prizes will not be awarded if judges decide that there is not an entry that qualifies as best in show.
- Instructions on picking up your entry after the contest will be included in a confirmation letter.
For more information, visit daytonholidayfestival.org or call (937) 224-1518 ext. 227
The Washington Township Woodland Lights 13th Annual Collection of Gingerbread Houses
Entries for the Woodland Lights Gingerbread Art Competition are due on Monday, Dec. 2. Bakers can enter individually or in groups. Categories include: adults, youth 7 to 18, preschoolers, and groups such as families, community organizations and schools. Families especially are encouraged to submit entries, Madden said. “Working in the kitchen helps bring families together. Designing, baking and decorating a gingerbread house provides a wonderful intergenerational opportunity.”
Individuals who place first in their category will receive an Active 90 Pass which provides free entrance for 90 days to the recreation center’s aquatic activities, fitness center, running track, open gym and climbing wall and to Rec West’s gym, theater and game room. Second place winners receive five daily passes. Registered participants who win as part of a group will receive two daily passes.
Gingerbread house entries should be taken to the Stolz Building, behind the Washington Township Recreation Center, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2. Gingerbread judging takes place Thursday, Dec. 5. Rules, guidelines can be found here. Entering is free. Call 438-7985 for information.