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Gingerbread Haus Contest (copy)

Jeanmarie and Nicolaus Moore of Longview marvel at the intricate detail and the colorful candy cupolas on one of the creations for the 2011 Gingerbread Haus competition at The Merk.

The Jack-o'-lanterns aren't even carved yet, but visions of gingerbread are dancing in our heads.

Fanciful gingerbread cottages dripping with royal icing send our hearts a-flutter. Peeking through a sugar pane window to see a doll-sized living room lit by a tiny electric bulb makes us shiver with delight. We feast our eyes on the delicate details — a carefully lettered fondant mailbox on a pretzel-rod post, blue candy frozen ponds framed by sugar-dusted trees, intricate scrollwork piped with a steady hand.

We can't wait to marvel at our readers' gingerbread creations again.

For the second year in a row, The Daily News is holding a Gingerbread Haus Contest in downtown Longview from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 1. To give the public a double dose of the holiday spirit, we've timed the contest to land the same day as Longview's Christmas Parade, which begins downtown at 5 p.m. and ends at the Civic Center.

Last year's contest drew 40 entries, among which were at least a dozen show-stoppers. We're proud and thrilled to have such talent in our community and wonder what our bakers will cook up this year. While most gingerbread contests charge an entry fee, ours is free — we know the cost of those ingredients and candy add up quickly.

This year, we've added a People's Choice award for the public's favorite entry, so be sure to pick up a ballot at the contest. We've also added a professional baker category and split the youth category into more age groups. Prizes will be gift cards to local businesses.

Judging the contest again will be Chef David Diffendorfer, a pastry and baking instructor at the Art Institute of Portland who built elaborative gingerbread villages for the Benson Hotel lobby for several years. Diffendorfer, who has bachelor's degrees in geography and industrial design, will be looking for attention to detail, balanced proportions, clean work and precision. (See our story Oct. 31 in which Diffendorfer shares more about what will win contestants style points).


One sweet contest

What: The Daily News's Gingerbread Haus Contest, seeking gingerbread creations in several categories.

How: Rules and guidelines are printed below. Registration forms are available here, and in the lobby of our office building at 770 11th Ave., Longview. Lobby hours are 8 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

When and where: The contest is Dec. 1. All entrants must submit a registration form to The Daily News by Monday, Nov. 19. Entrants must bring a second copy of the registration form to the contest that includes a brief description of their entry.

Display, judging, prizes and public viewing will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 1 on the second floor of The Merk building, Commerce Avenue and Broadway, Longview.

Entries must be dropped off at The Merk between 10 a.m. and noon Dec. 1. Entrants who want to take their gingerbread houses home must pick them up after the contest between 5-6 p.m. Any gingerbread creations left behind will be displayed for the holidays in the Merk window or at a local business.

For whom: Anyone living in the newspaper's circulation area.

Please see rules for more information, or contact Amy Fischer at 360-577-2532 or afischer@tdn.com.


Gingerbread Haus Contest Details

TDN Gingerbread Village in the Merk

• Saturday, Dec. 1, second floor of The Merk, Commerce Avenue and Broadway, downtown Longview.

• Judge: Chef David Diffendorfer of The Art Institute of Portland

Categories

Youth (one prize per age group)

  • Age 8 and under
  • Age 9-12
  • Age 13-17

Adult (one prize per category)

  • Local landmarks
  • Heartwarming houses
  • Other gingerbread originals

Professional (one prize)

  • For professional bakers, chefs and culinary instructors

People's Choice (one prize)

  • Winner of the public vote

Rules

• All entrants must submit an entry form by Nov. 19 to The Daily News, P.O. Box 189, Longview, WA 98632. Entry is free. Forms may be downloaded here or picked up at The Daily News, 770 11th Ave., Longview. Lobby hours are 8 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

• When we receive your entry form, we will contact you with your entry number.

• Entrants must bring a second copy of the registration form to the contest that includes a brief description of their entry. This ensures we can match the house to the baker.

• Entrants must put a label on the underside of their base with their name, phone number and entry number. The label must not show during the contest.

• All visible parts of the structure and landscape must be edible. Internal support pieces of non-edible materials are allowed.

• For all youth categories: Adult assistance with baking and construction of the structure is allowed, but the child must do all the decorating.

• All entries must be submitted on a sturdy base (plywood, for example) that's larger than the house/structure. The base may be decorated with an edible landscape.

• Electric lights are allowed. Outlets are available, but please supply your own extension cord.

• Use of gingerbread from pre-baked kits is allowed.

• Entrants are responsible for delivering their structures to the second floor of The Merk. An elevator and wheeled cart will be available.

• Entries must be dropped off at The Merk between 10 a.m. and noon Dec. 1. Entrants who want to take their gingerbread houses home must pick them up after the contest between 5-6 p.m. Any gingerbread creations left behind will be displayed for the holidays in the Merk window or at a local business.

• Entrants do not need to remain at The Merk or be present to win.

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