Here Are the Winners of This Year’s (Virtual) National Gingerbread House Competition

Jan 04, 2021 10:22 AM EST | By Kristine M. (

2020 Virtual National Gingerbread House Competition Winners

(Photo : Unsplash / Ryan Wallace)

The global pandemic may have prevented us from gathering together and celebrating the holidays in the usual ways.

One of the traditions that everyone is familiar with is making a gingerbread house. This tradition even made its way to become a national competition, and this year, Omni Grove Park Inn is going virtual.

According to Food and Wine, the 28th annual National Gingerbread House Competition held the whole event virtually to abide by the safety regulations.

Despite receiving fewer entries than last year, they were able to receive nearly 100 different gingerbread creations. The participants were from four age groups, which are children (5- to 8-year-olds), youths (9- to 12-year-olds), teens (13- to 17-year-olds), and adults.

As per BakeMag, the artists were encouraged to enter the competition beginning August 26, 2020, for a chance to win cash and prizes. Food Network star Carla Hall and renowned food, arts, and media professionals were tasked to judge the gingerbread designs both virtually and in-person.

According to Public Relations and Community Outreach Director at The Omni Grove Park Inn, Susan Rotante, the holiday season is synonymous with The Omni Grove Park Inn's National Gingerbread House Competition and its public Gingerbread House display. However, for this year, they were faced with the difficult decision of canceling the public exhibition for safety reasons.

To cope with the changes, their team worked tirelessly to reshape the competition and its virtual and in-person experiences. She explained that pivoting programming was their way of continuing with their legacy and telling the stories behind the houses like never before.

Read also: No-Fuss Recipes of 2020 That Even Beginners Can Master

The Winners of The 2020 Virtual National Gingerbread House Competition

The Grand Prize Winner for this year was awarded to Merry Mischief Bakers from Phoenix, Arizona, for their St. Nick's Christmas Decor Shop creation.

The design features an incredibly detailed depiction of Santa's grotto while meeting the competition's stipulation that all entries must be at least 75% gingerbread.

Taking home second place was the 2017 champion, Ann Bailey, with a This Place Called Home.

Meanwhile, the third-place winner went to Thomas Blake Hogan for his Sea Questered creation depicting a mermaid in skewed cold weather. Although these have less connection with the holiday season, the designs were just as impressive.

The additional top prizes went to The Rhinehart Sisters from Columbia, Tennessee in the teen category for their Peace, Love, Joy creation; The Sugar Squad from Marshall, North Carolina in the youth group for their Santa Stop; and The Glitter Girls from Blue Ridge, Georgia in the child division, for their A Mermaid Christmas. Overall, the competition gave $25,000 worth of cash and prizes.

Fans can view all the 12 finalists on The Omni Grove Park's Instagram page. In addition, they can view the official winners' page at

Other Activities at Omni Grove Hotel Inn

With the absence of in-person activities this year, an exclusive chance to see Best in Dough: Gingerbread Finalist Showcase was offered to those staying at the hotel.

On the other hand, those not traveling to the hotel were offered an online gingerbread-making class series starring the competition judges and chefs Carla Hall, Geoff Blount, Nicholas Lodge, and John Cook via pay-to-view.

Related article: Secrets to Making the Perfect Fluffy Japanese Soufflé Pancakes

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