You’re looking at the winning entry of the 2020 competition. A collection of artists, known collectively as the Merry Mischief Bakers, created “St. Nick’s Christmas Decor Shop.” The Asheville hotel recently announced the entry as the winner of the 28th annual competition.
“The level of artistry this year was off the charts,” Omni Grove Park Inn’s Susan Rotante said.
But like everything in 2020, this year was a bit different. Because of COVID-19, the hotel asked competitors to capture photos and videos of their gingerbread-making journey, deciding that part of the judging would take place virtually. Once the judges narrowed down the creations to the top few, those creators were asked if they felt comfortable bringing their gingerbread houses to the hotel. So, unlike in years past, the hotel isn’t full of gingerbread houses, but it does offer a blend of virtual and in-person experiences to enjoy.
“Virtually, we have Baking Spirits Bright, which is a gingerbread-making class series with celebrity all-star chefs and competition judges,” Rotante said. " Basically, if you can’t come to the Omni Grove Park Inn, you can make a little gingerbread magic at home with the cooking classes.”
There’s a “Best in Dough” documentary for hotel guests to enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the competition. And while the gingerbread houses are missing from the hotel, one walk through the lobby will let guests realize there’s no doubt the holiday season is here.
“We have hundreds of Christmas trees here on property, thousands of twinkling lights. We have two 36-foot fireplaces flanking our Great Hall, and the arts and crafts, warm nature of this hotel is still a holiday destination to be seen,” Rotante said.
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