The sunlit lobby of downtown Victoria’s Parkside Hotel and Spa is filled with the sweet, snappy aroma of gingerbread and icing sugar.
This year, 29 contestants participated in the 11th annual Gingerbread Showcase, the largest roster to date. The annual event sees professional bakers and home-based enthusiasts make their biggest and greatest holiday treats to fundraise for Victoria’s Habitat for Humanity.
This year’s theme, “Building a Diverse Community,” saw everything from intricate construction cranes to alien settlements, to forest creatures lazing on a stump – all made with candy, Rice Krispies, fondant and of course, gingerbread.
— Nicole Crescenzi (@NicoleCrescenzi) November 14, 2019
There were some rules, explained Kelly King, director of communications for Habitat for Humanity Victoria. “Everything used must be edible, it must fit on the two-by-two platter and the creation must be at least 18 inches high.”
Bakers spent more than 100 hours each on the projects and once again the judges were said to be “astonished at the overall quality on display.”
The winners were:
• First place amateur: Origins by Selena Oliveira
• Best first impression: Kung Hei Fatt Choy! by Audrey Wang and Heather White
• Best interpretation of the theme: Monsters at Bay by Nando Castillo at Revera Parkwood Place
• Most creative and original: Origins by Selena Oliveira
• Best use of skill and technique: A Place to Call Home by Christine and Peter Cooper
• Kick off kudos, as voted for by invited guests: Origins by Selena Oliveira
The public can come in and place its vote by donation, with funds raised going towards 11 homes being built by Habitat for Humanity in the Capital Region. In 2018, the event drew in more than $93,000 in donations.
“It really is a special event for us, and we really love just involving the local community,” said Ashley Priest, guest services manager at Parkside Hotel and Spa. “It’s really becoming a focal point in Victoria over the holidays both for our guests here in the hotel and for the local community.”
The event is open to the public until Jan. 6 in the atrium at the hotel, 810 Humboldt St.