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Local woman finishes second in National Gingerbread House Competition

By Caitlin Rickard crickard@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:34 PM

Glenda Tant, of Lebanon, recently competed in the 21st Annual National Gingerbread House Competition, where she placed second in the adult category for her “Santa’s Car” entry.

The competition took place at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, Nov. 17 and 18, and displays of the creations are now on exhibit for viewing throughout the hotel through Jan. 2.

The holiday competition has been tradition at the Omni Grove Park Inn since 1992, and this year’s contestants competed for over $22,000 in cash and prizes in four categories: Adult, Teen, Youth and Child.

According to Omni Resorts, more than 150 entries in the competition were judged by a panel of elite judges consisting of world-renowned sugar craft arts and pastry chefs to cookbook authors, a cake baker for the stars, a curator for the Metropolitan Museum in New York and Cheryl Forberg, the nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser.”

The Christmas-themed entries were judged based on overall appearance, originality and creativity, difficulty, precision and consistency of theme.

Other than the base, all admissions were made entirely out of edible materials.

Tant said she got involved with creating gingerbread houses through a good friend who won the competition a couple of times before and encouraged her to join.

Since starting a few years ago, Tant has gradually gotten better and continued to climb in the rankings.

“I entered the competition for the first time in 2011 and placed in the top 10, and last year on my second year I got third place and this year I got second place,” Tant said.

Tant said the idea for her “Santa’s Car” entry this year came completely out of her head.

“It’s so important to be original; you don’t want to copy anything,” Tant said. “They’ve been doing this competition for about 20 years, so there’s been everything there.

“There’s things from birdhouses to coo-coo clocks and regular houses, so it’s hard to come up with something original,” Tant said.

In her first year, Tant created a Mother Goose village complete with 14 nursery rhymes throughout the little town theme.

Last year, Tant created a barn.

“Barns have been done before, but not like I did it,” Tant said.

Tant said the barn was see-through and showed scenes inside the barn depicting animals dancing and singing and having a Christmas party.

“This year I decided that there had never been a good car done before so I decided to try it because I like to challenge myself,” Tant said.

Tant said she then decided against simply having Santa and Mrs. Claus driving in a car and waving.

“I like things to tell a story so I decided to have him stranded with a flat tire and have the elf fixing the tire,” Tant said.

Tant also said she challenged herself to make as much out of gingerbread as she could and all of the people, the car and the trees in the display are made out of different recipes of gingerbread.

Other than gingerbread, Tant said she also used edible ingredients such as icing for the snow, hard candy for the windshield of the car, ice cream cones for the inside of some of the trees, rice crispy treats for the hill scenery and even the inside supports are hard spaghetti noodles.

Tant said participants aren’t given a theme, but come up with their own theme and everything she did was hand-molded.

“I was shooting for extremely difficult and extremely creative,” Tant said.

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