A gingerbread contest for the ages

Marissa Douglas and Annie Frost

‘Tis the season to play with your food. During December 6th through 8th this year, the Port of Bellingham held their annual Holiday Port Festival. At this festival, members of the community can enter their gingerbread houses (or any edible structure) to compete against others. This event is open to anyone and is free to participate in. The houses are put on display for anyone to come and see and people can see. There are multiple categories for the houses to compete in, including a People’s Choice Award.

Tiffany DeSimone, the Community Outreach Supervisor, describes the judging process. “Over the years we have many guest judges including Port commissioners, sponsor representatives and members of local organizations, as well as Port staff,” DeSimone said. “The judges base their scores on appearance, originality, difficulty and precision.” There were 87 participants this year.

I (Marissa Douglas) went this year to see the Gingerbread Contest (and some of the performances) and was very impressed. If you’re interested in seeing my favorite houses, along with the competition winners, scroll to the bottom of the article.

If you’re interested in submitting a piece next year, there is an online entry form to fill out (usually due late November), or you can call the Port at 360-676-2500, to have an entry form mailed to you. Everyone is welcome to enter. Your piece will have the option to compete in the following categories, depending on it’s eligibility: Youth 5 and Under, Youth K-3rd Grade, Youth 4th-8th Grade, Youth 9th-12th Grade, Family, Adult, Senior 65 or Older, Business / Non-Profit, Professional Baker / Caterer, and People’s Choice.

Participating in this competition is a tradition for many but there are also many newcomers every year. While less than one hundred people bring in gingerbread houses, thousands get to participate every year by coming and viewing the houses along with the performances. It is a festival of cheer for all who come.