Traditional Arts in Upstate New York. Traditional Arts of Upstate New York
53 Main Street
Canton, NY 13617
(315) 386-4289

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For the 2015 Sugar and Spice competition, you’re invited to tell us a story in gingerbread with the theme of “Children’s Literature.” Whether it’s a classic fairy tale or a scene from your latest favorite in Young Adult fiction, we challenge you to build a gingerbread house or scene representing something from a beloved kids’ or young adults’ book. Along with your gingerbread house, you’ll be asked to submit the title of the book or story along with a brief passage from the book that inspired you.


TAUNY began its Sugar & Spice Gingerbread Contest and Exhibit in 2002 to encourage and celebrate the creative wintertime tradition of building gingerbread houses. The tradition began in the mid-19th century, when the story Hansel and Gretel, featuring the witch's candy cottage, became popular. Baking, shaping, and decorating gingerbread was already a Christmas and Easter tradition at that time, since in early times ginger was an expensive, exotic spice, reserved for special occasions. Ginger also has preserving qualities, which made it suitable for molding, carving, and decorating into works of art.

Today, building gingerbread houses together is a family tradition for many. Builders don't always build a traditional candy cottage, though. Over the years, entrants in TAUNY's contest have depicted everything from lighthouses and farmsteads to local streetscapes and theater scenes.

So get started on your reading and scheming!


Gingerbread Contest Guidelines

  • Entries are due at The TAUNY Center by 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 2. Pre-registration is appreciated by November 20; to register call (315) 386-4289 or email programs@tauny.org.
  • Structures must be made of gingerbread baked from scratch and must be entirely edible.
  • Entries must include a registration form, available at this link or at The TAUNY Center, that identifies and includes a brief excerpt from the book or story you’re representing. You can photocopy it or write it over. Please make sure to include the book title and page number!
  • Entries will be accepted and prizes will be awarded in four categories: adult (ages 18+), youth (12-17 with no adult help), children (under 12 with minimal adult help), and family/youth/community group. Entries created by groups are encouraged.
  • A People's Choice Award will be presented at the close of the exhibit.
  • Prizes will include ice cream treats from Stewart’s Shops and, for the People’s Choice Award, a TAUNY gift certificate.
  • All entries will be celebrated with a story hour at The TAUNY Center in December with special guest, librarian Valerie White. Stay tuned for details!

Judges will consider the following criteria to evaluate gingerbread entries:

  • Are all components edible?
  • Is the construction solid?
  • How original is the concept?
  • How creative is the use of ingredients?
  • Does the entry fit this year's theme?

Entries will be judged and the exhibit opens at the Holiday Open House at The TAUNY Center on Saturday, December 5.


The Sugar & Spice exhibit remains on display through Saturday, December 19; all entries must be left in the display until the exhibit closes. If you would like to take your entry back home after the exhibit, it must be picked up by 5pm on Wednesday, Dec. 23rd.

The 2015 Sugar & Spice exhibit and contest are supported by underwriting from Stewart’s Shops.

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