Start a new holiday tradition at the Second Annual Gingerbread Jam

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Start a new holiday tradition with a little friendly competition Dec. 7 at the Second Annual Gingerbread Jam held at the Orange Beach Event Center. This family friendly event is a gingerbread assembly and decorating competition for families and businesses.

The inaugural event in 2018 reached maximum capacity at the Orange Beach Recreation Center so the event has moved to a bigger location this year to accommodate more competitors.

The two categories you can compete in are:

Family category- $10

Up to 4 family members or friends build and decorate a gingerbread display on a 4 ft square section (2 families per 8 ft rectangular table). No baking is allowed on-site. No previously assembled pieces allowed.

A trophy will be awarded to the team with the highest scoring gingerbread House according to our 5 judges. A special prize will also be given to the People’s Choice winner.

Business category- $25

Teams of up to 10 co-workers build and decorate a gingerbread village on an 8 ft round table. This category includes a tasting element for 5 judges (may be prepared off-site and brought to the competition). No baking is allowed on-site. No previously assembled pieces are allowed. Businesses will receive online promotions to include: logo on website and social media, plus social media tags and mentions along with inclusion in press releases and media content leading up to, during and after the event. Businesses will also receive a flash drive including professional photography and videography of their assembly, decorating, finished product and tasting element.

A trophy will be awarded to the business with the highest scoring gingerbread village according to our 5 judges. A special prize will also be given to the People’s Choice winner. Only 10 team members may build at a time, but team members may be tagged out by additional members and more than 10 can participate if others are handing out marketing materials, greeting onlookers, etc. The 10-co-worker policy is specifically set for a maximum of 10 people to assemble and decorate the gingerbread village at any given time.

The event is open to public from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and entry and viewing is free. Cookies and hot chocolate will be available for purchase. Family category judging takes place at noon and business judging at 1 p.m.

Jessica and Jonathon Langston started this fundraiser for Expect Excellence Culinary Arts Program in 2018 with hope this would become an Orange Beach holiday tradition.

“Jonathan and I began this holiday tradition last year, because we wanted the community to come together to enjoy one of our favorite activities of the season -- decorating gingerbread houses with family. Some of my fondest Christmas memories include visiting the Grand Hotel in Point Clear with my extended family during our monthly luncheon and seeing the grand gingerbread village and festive spread. We always took a family photo in front of the fireplace and I remember how the sparkling decorations and the smells of gingerbread became a special part of Christmas for us,” said Jessica Langston, Creative Director for the City of Orange Beach.

In 2018, Jerry and Yolando Johnson were declared winner of the family Category and the team from Buzzcatz Coffee and Sweets won the Business Category.

The Johnsons agreed “The experience was truly Christmas. It was like we were living in a Hallmark Christmas Movie.” The Johnson’s love Christmas and they have visited the National gingerbread House competition at the Grove Park in Asheville many times but had never participated in a contest before this one.

The Jingle Bell Johnsons’ Costal Cottages was a gingerbread development inspired by coastal living in Orang Beach with half of the houses on stilts, Alabama and Auburn fans like Yo and Jerry living peacefully together, a vote sign indicating community involvement, a sold sign signaling the city’s vibrant economy, plentiful red snapper brought in by the Tide at the Bama house, orange fish gathering at the War Eagle house, and the 2018 topic of the day was introduced with a U-turns in the development. The development was landscaped with each house having a front door street side and facing the water as neighbors visit by boat as much as car in OBA.

This competition does not require a high level of baking or decorating experience. Participants can use store bought kits, candy, cereal and common kitchen ingredients like sugar. Nothing can be assembled before arriving but you can have all your items ready to go as soon as you arrive. Don’t forget a tablecloth and remember all items used in your display must be edible.

Deadline to register and pay is Nov. 28 and there must be a minimum of 20 participants. Register online at https://www.orangebeachal.gov/events/performing-arts.

Rules:

-The City of Orange Beach provides only the table. Teams provide their own previously cooked gingerbread, ingredients and table decorations. No baking onsite--assembly and decorating only. Gingerbread house kits and store-bought candies are perfectly acceptable.

-Table designations are on a first come, first serve basis.

-Teams not utilizing safe health practices will be disqualified.

-Every aspect of the gingerbread house and gingerbread village must be edible. Literally everything except your tablecloth (or whatever base decoration you choose) must be edible: Gingerbread house walls, mortar, shingles, yard ornaments...everything.

-Tasting elements (business category only) are not limited to gingerbread; they may be any type of dessert that fits visually into the display.

-For questions, email Jessica Langston, City of Orange Beach Creative Director, at jjlangston@orangebeachal.gov.