Gingerbread House Competition at Omni Grove Park Inn
By Janet Moore
The National Gingerbread House Competition
William Shakespeare got it right when he wrote,
“And I had but one penny in the world, thou should’st have it to buy gingerbread.”
You’ll find plenty of this spicy holiday favorite during The Omni Grove Park Inn’s National Gingerbread House Competition, which in 2017 celebrated its 25th anniversary of showcasing decorative sugar castles and holiday cookie creativity.
Beginning in late-November and continuing through December, The Omni Grove Park Inn and Asheville are the nation’s gingerbread capitol as contestants, pastry chefs and famous food star judges cross the country to celebrate the intricate edible creations.
From the whimsical to the elaborate, there are gingerbread houses of every size, shape, complexity and theme. You’ll find quaint rustic cabins, gumdrop-adorned castles and sugar spun landscapes to inspire your own gingerbread traditions.
Gingerbread History: Did you know?
Gingerbread was used by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians for ceremonial purposes.
Gingerbread was brought to Europe in 992 by an Armenian monk, but it wasn’t until the 18th century that it was readily available.
Gingerbread is a favorite food in many cultures, with variations appearing in Brazilian, Middle Eastern, European, Russian and American cooking.
Gingerbread comes in many forms ranging from a light spice cake to dense bread. The harder German-style gingerbread is most commonly used to make gingerbread houses.
Glittering Holiday Decorations
As you enjoy the Gingerbread creations, you'll notice The Omni Grove Park Inn and its Great Hall entrance way come alive with the smells of evergreen, sugar and spice.
There is no shortage of holiday spirit, music or decorations at The Omni Grove Park Inn. The Great Hall’s enormous wreath-adorned stone fire places—large enough accommodate massive 12-foot logs—crackle and glow with welcomed warmth. Throughout the Inn there are dozens of decorated trees; the largest resides in the Great Hall. And the lobby rings with the sounds of Christmas.
Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice at the Omni Grove Park Inn
If only the thick boulder-rock walls of The Omni Grove Park Inn could talk. What stories they would tell about the captains of industry, politicians, prize-winning authors, artists, and sports legends who have walked through its massive oak doors.
In the 21st century, the Inn stands as a prime example of the Arts and Crafts movement in American and to one man’s contribution to the “Golden Age of Asheville.” Just as in 1913, when the Inn officially opened, today’s visitors are drawn to its expansive exterior and breathtaking location, overlooking Asheville and the ancient mountains that surround this vibrant southern city.
From its Arts and Crafts Roycroft furniture and accessories to displays of antique china and caricatures of its many famous guests, The Omni Grove Park Inn is overflowing with history.
If you go: 2018 National Gingerbread House Competition
JUDGING: After judges award the winners of National Gingerbread House Competition, guests will be able to view an array of awe-inspiring entries.
PARKING FEE / ADMISSION INFO: A minimum $20 parking charge will be in effect for all drive-on guests (one charge per standard size vehicle, based parking on availability). Half of each parking charge collected this season will be returned to the community in support of various local non-profit organizations. Valet parking is $25.
PET POLICY: Only registered resort pets will be permitted during the gingerbread display. No outside pets are allowed.
TIMING: Dates are still to be announced for the 2018-2019 viewing of the gingerbread entries.
Note -- On busy days, parking may reach capacity. If that occurs, guests may be asked to return to The Omni Grove Park Inn at another time. To avoid being turned away because of capacity, try to visit earlier in the day when the resort is typically less busy.
ADDITIONAL VIEWING: Some contest entries will also be on display at the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville and at the Asheville Visitors Center.
The Omni Grove Park Inn regularly offers special packages during the holidays. To learn more, click here.