Bakers from around the country ate themselves out of house and home in preparation for the annual gingerbread house competition in Ashville, N.C.
After testing their own sugary constructions, the builders delivered their homes, made of only edible products, to Ashville's Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, where they were judged last month.
Elizabeth Prioli, of Chapel Hill, N.C., took home the grand prize for her home sweet home. The winning house, and the runner-ups were featured on Good Morning America. All of the entries will remain on display at the Inn's Gingerbread House Lane exhibit through Dec. 29.
Gingerbread houses are believed to have originated in Germany in the 1800s. At the time gingerbread was not baked in the home, but was the preserve of an exclusive guild of master bakers. Craftsmen carved intricate wooden molds and artists assisted with decoration in frosting or gold paint. Large pieces of "lebkuchen," or gingerbread, were used to build the ornate houses.
Now in its eighth year, the 2001 national gingerbread house competition attracted 266 entries. Judges chose winners from three different categories.
Grand Prize: Elizabeth Prioli, Chapel Hill, N.C. First Prize: Gwen Moore, Findlay, Ohio Second Prize: Deni Cole, Weaverville, N.C. Third Prize: Christina Banner, Newland, N.C. Fourth Prize: Paula Powell, Columbus, N.C. Fifth Prize: Aubrey McNight, Clemson, S.C.
First Prize: Jonathan Woody, Asheville, N.C. Second Prize: Leah Hudgins, Knoxville, Tenn. Third Prize: Damon and Bryon Houghton, Sylva, N.C. Fourth Prize: Sam Marshall, Asheville, N.C.
Youth (10 and under)
First Prize: Lee Holland, Shelby, N.C. Second Prize: Taylor, Kathleen and Harper Boone, Franklin, N.C. Third Prize: Danae Marie MacLeod, Jacksonville, Fla. Fourth Prize: Taylor Courier, Jono Eddy, Ashley Griffen, Kelsey Hunt, Will Moss and Morgan Walker, Hendersonville, N.C.
If you want to find out how to enter next year's competition, go to www.groveparkinn.com.