Gingerbread Jubilee will offer competition, family fun

sokamoto@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 8, 2009 

After seeing the National Gingerbread House Competition & Display in Asheville’s Grove Park Inn, Jamie Keating, the executive chef of the RiverMill Event Centre, was inspired to create a local gingerbread event.

The first Gingerbread Jubilee will be Nov. 22 and Nov. 23. It’s a competition to see who makes the best gingerbread houses in the Valley. The competition will be open to professional chefs, corporations, amateur bakers and children. Those interested in entering the competition can do so until Friday.

“My wife and I thought of doing something of a friendly competition for charity,” Keating said. “There are a lot of creative people in this community.” Keating is hoping his event will grow year after year, so he partnered with the Children’s Miracle Network to do the event.

“We thought it would be something fun to do here,” said Jennifer Joyner, the CMN’s local executive director. “I thought it was a natural tie-in — children, gingerbread and the holidays.”

For the jubilee, RiverMill Centre volunteers will help young children build their own gingerbread houses that the kids can take home.

On display at the jubilee will be a giant gingerbread church created by the RiverMill’s pastry chef, Alyson Helton. The church has stained-glass windows and a church bell. The windows and the bell are made of sugar. The church is decorated with candy and gum.

Eighty pounds of cake mixture and five gallons of royal icing were used for the project.

Don’t worry — Helton’s creation is not in the competition. She made it as an inspiration piece for those wanting to create their own masterpieces.

The gingerbread houses entered in the competition will be sold through a silent auction and people can vote for their favorites for $1 per vote.

A local celebrity competition will include Tim Mescon, president of Columbus State University, CMN chairs Scott and Rochelle Ressmeyer, Columbus Cottonmouths general manager and head coach Jerome Bechard, Columbus Lions head coach Jason Gibson, Georgia state representative Debbie Buckner and Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley.

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