Two upstate kids win top prizes at 29th annual gingerbread house competition


Asheville’s Omni Grove Park Inn announced on November 23 that Alana Armenti of Simpsonville and Parker Webster of Greenville have won top prizes at the 29th annual convention National Gingerbread House Competition.

Webster’s “Zoom with Santa” took first place in the Kids category for kids ages 5-8 while Armenti’s “Winter Wonder Wheel” took third place in the Youth category for kids ages 9 and up. at the age of 12.

Alana Armenti

In addition to the Children and Youth categories, participants aged 18 and over competed in the Adult category while participants aged 13 to 17 entered the Teen category.

Other winning entries for 2021 included:


  • First place – The merry mischievous bakers from Phoenix, Arizona, “Christmas Around the World”
  • Second place – Grier Rubeling from Cary, NC, “Gingerbread Nutcrackers”
  • Third place – Bill and Cheryl Filion from Medina, Ohio, “A Spin on Christmas”


  • First place – Courtland High German Program from Spotsylvania, Virginia, “Elfes After Hours”
  • Second place – Emma rhinhart from Columbia, Tennessee, “Santa’s Study”
  • Third place – Abigail Woerner from Concord, North Carolina, “Holly Jolly Christmas”


  • First place – Lolajay wilson from Asheville, North Carolina, “Picture Perfect Holiday”
  • Second place – Emmalyn frost from Knoxville, Tennessee, “Upside Christmas”


  • Second place – Sparkling girls from Blue Ridge, Georgia, “Christmas Pets of Santa Claus and Friends”
  • Third place – BMP smart cookies from Black Mountain, North Carolina, “December 26”

All houses had to be fully edible and made up of 75% gingerbread.

Each entry was reviewed by a panel of judges including:

  • Celebrity chef, author and television personality Carla Room
  • Nadine orenstein, Curator of the Drawings and Prints Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Cheryl Forberg, James Beard Award-winning chef and dietitian
  • Mark Seaman, the culinary applications manager of Barry Callebaut
  • Geoff blount, Chef, Baking and Pastry Arts Program Chair at ICI Myrtle Beach
  • Executive Pastry Chef at the Omni Grove Park Inn John cook
  • Pastry chef, author and teacher Steven stellingwerf
  • Aaron Morgan, Executive Pastry Chef at Stable Café on The Biltmore Estate
  • Nicolas Pavilion, author of over a dozen sugar art books and educational DVDs

All gingerbread creations will be on display at the Asheville Hotel until January 2, 2022.

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