They don’t call this the National Gingerbread House Competition for nothing. In its 21-year history, the competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn has dazzled and delighted families with epic displays of edible creations by dedicated designers and carefully curated chefs. Whether you stay at the Omni Grove Park Inn or are just passing through, marvel at gingerbread cottages, mansions and villages. A $10 parking charge will be in effect for all drive-on guests, but half of each parking charge collected this holiday season will be returned to the community in support of one of six local not-for-profits. The display is featured in the hotel Nov. 20-Jan. 2.
For the wild side of your family, take a trip to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park to witness its annual Gin-GRR-Bread Habitat Contest. Massive displays of different habitats are brought to life thanks to gingerbread caves, rivers made of icing and mountains of sugary candies. These habitats follow the same theme every year. Last year's honored the American Trail with three Grand Prize winners, each receiving an exclusive, keeper-led tour of Great Cats for 10 guests. Displays will be set up in the zoo from Nov. 29 until Jan. 2.
Though it’s not a competition or even a collection of separate gingerbread houses, The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain in Tucson dishes out a decadent gingerbread teepee for the holiday season. The life-size teepee, located in the lobby’s Ignite Library, is the annual brainchild of pastry chef Daniel Mangione utilizing mass amounts of ingredients — last year’s consisted of 130 pounds of sugar, 42 pounds of egg whites, 32 pounds of flour, 10 pounds of cinnamon and 8 pounds of ginger, and it was decorated with 188 pounds of holiday candy and took 160 man hours from the pastry team. The multitude of ingredients, decorations and hard work results is a stunning homage to the holiday tradition with a unique Southwestern twist. Guests who choose to stay at the hotel during the holidays can also take advantage of other festive celebrations.
Seattle may be a wet winter destination, but Sheraton’s Gingerbread Village makes the holidays a heart-warming celebration with larger-than-life gingerbread creations. This year’s theme will showcase classic nursery rhymes including Humpty Dumpty, Jack and the Beanstalk and the Old Woman in the Shoe. Guests of the Sheraton and visitors passing through can see the gingerbread masterpieces Nov. 26-Jan. 1 in Sheraton’s lobby.
Nothing screams "I Love NY" like a trip to the W. 56th Street atrium in the lobby of Le Parker Meridien to see Gingerbread Extravaganza. The theme highlights "Quintessential New York" and features creations from local bakeries and restaurants. All proceeds benefit City Harvest, the world’s first food-rescue organization. Tickets are $1 and include a vote of your favorite creation and a chance to win a five-night stay at Le Parker Meridien’s sister hotel, Parker Palm Springs. Gingerbread Extravaganza will be set up Dec. 6-Jan. 6.
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