SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Nineteen years ago, a new tradition in Savannah began to help businesses make up what they lost due to nine-eleven. Since then, a lot of people have been able to enjoy the yearly showing of The Gingerbread Houses at the Westin-Savannah Harbor.
The Gingerbread Competition is nearing two decades. Each year, it seems to get a little more creative with a wide variety of foods to compliment the constant gingerbread. Now, it has become a must-attend event for many in the area.
“We like to say that the holiday is all about tradition, for us, nineteen years ago right after nine-eleven, it was about bringing in people from around Savannah to see it,” said Mark Spadoni, General Manager of Westin Savannah Harbor.
Spadoni says now many of the people who participated as students, are back building houses as adults. It’s all an ongoing tradition in what can be challenging.
WTOC asked Spadoni what it takes to be good at this.
“Creativity. Working with edible items becomes a challenge, you have to understand a little bit about sugar,” Spadoni replied.
“A lot of patience, and it takes years of expertise of working with it as well,” said Franklin Creech, Resort Banquet Chef at Westin Savannah Harbor.
Creech says with Savannah being so humid, it’s also an effort to keep the materials from sagging.
The Banquet Chef took us through a tour and told us what he liked about the four big winners.
“What makes it so special, there are a lot of great things about it, the rooftop with the fine Christmas Tree, with the icing work, with the bows, a lot of pretzels, inside of it you even have your chairs, a table, and there’s a little bit of fine writing in there with the menu. And then all of the brick pavement is made out of gingerbread and icing as well,” explained Creech. “The popcorn trees are made out of little popcorn balls, and then also the rice chex are used as shingles on the house, and then the windows are made out of icing as well with nothing behind it.”
It had to be difficult to choose the winners. One was another creative neighborhood of Macchu Picchu.
Now, they’ve taken the event a step further with a new adventure. You pick up a Passport and go around downtown Savannah where you’ll find four Gingerbread Houses that they’ve placed there.
The Gingerbread Houses at the Westin will remain on display until January 1st.
These are the winners of this year’s competition:
Adult Winner – Rhonda Edwards
Teen Winner – The Nani Team
Youth Winner – Saint Peter the Apostle Group Project
Child Winner – Saint Peter the Apostle Kindergarten Class