CAMDEN – The first Gingerbread House Bake-Off at last weekend’s Christmas by the Sea celebration was held in the conference room at 16 Bayview Hotel December 1 and 2. The Knox County Homeless Coalition, Midcoast Habitat for Humanity, and the AIO Food and Energy Assistance came together to host the family-friendly event and fundraiser.
With youth, amateur, and professional categories, the bake-off was open to all interested parties. Winners for each category were selected by the host organizations with a People’s Choice winner selected by public voting.
For the Homeless Coalition, the Bake-Off was a gentle introduction for the public to tough community issues and needs.
Becca Gildred, Chief Development Officer for the Homeless Coalition, said it was nice to host an event where people could learn about what her organization does.
Sweet, candy decorations and delicious architecture combined as the distinct smell of gingerbread filled the room. From a village to a fairy’s cottage, from the simple to the sublime, there was one essential thread, which was the amount of love put into their construction.
First place youth went to Cordelia Hayes. Her entry was inspired by “Christmas by the Sea.” She described it as a whimsical and colorful mermaid’s cottage covered in pastel pinks and blues with some pearl sprinkles.
“I made the frosting myself,” she said.
Marissa Gildred, of Rockport, won second place in the youth division. She said her entry was inspired by a greenhouse.
“I was able to make some glass from sugar and corn syrup,” she said. “I have planter boxes outside with Oreos for the dirt. The trees are cones dipped in frosting and sprinkles. The path is lined with chocolate rocks.”
Kara Croce won third place youth with her entry of “Winter Wonderland.” Her inspiration was simple: She was hoping for a white Christmas this year.
“Also I was just hoping to add some Christmas cheer to someone’s day,” she said.
Trish Crowell won first place professional with her entry of, “Peace, Love, and Unity.”
In her description she said, she was inspired by the world’s current and not so current events.
“I believe we need to find a way to bring people together as one united world,” she said.
There was only one entry in the professional category.
Clark Horgan won third place adult amateur. His inspiration was his three “ginger” children and their love of Christmas.
Lynnette Sproch won second place, adult amateur with her entry of “The Brown Sculpted Nativity.”
Barbara Balduman won first place, adult amateur with her entry of “Rockland Breakwater.”
“I love lighthouses,” she said. “Especially the Rockland Breakwater because of the construction that went into it, so many years ago.”
The People’s Choice, where the public voted, was won by Jess Bailey with her entry of “A Maine Made Home.”
She envisioned a house full of windows to let the light in and constructed using as many natural elements as possible.
A highlight was a group of carolers who had traveled from MA for Christmas by the Sea were viewing the gingerbread houses and were happy to sing us a Christmas song.
Plans for the 2024 Gingerbread House Competition are already underway.