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

Gingerbread Contest/Exhibit

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 forest scenes. 

Places that are special to individuals and communities deserve recognition, so the 2014 contest theme is "Local Landmarks," with a focus on TAUNY's Register of Very Special Places. The Register celebrates local and regional places that are very meaningful to communities around the North Country. For this year's contest, we'd like to see a place that's very special to you! While any local landmark is eligible for the general age group prize categories, an additional prize will be given to the person or group who best represents a site on TAUNY's Register of Very Special Places. You can learn more about the Register and see the sites here.

Gingerbread Contest Guidelines
  • Entries are due at The TAUNY Center by 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 4. Pre-registration is appreciated by November 22; to register call (315) 386-4289 or email
  • Structures must be made of gingerbread baked from scratch and must be entirely edible.
  • Entrants are encouraged to make a gingerbread creation that fits the “Local Landmarks” theme.
  • 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.
  • Two additional prizes will be given this year (for which any of the age group categories listed above are eligible): the community will vote on their favorite gingerbread creations for a "People's Choice Award," and judges will award a prize for the best representation of a site from TAUNY's Register of Very Special Places.
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 Saturday, December 6th.

The Sugar & Spice exhibit remains on display through Saturday, December 20th; all entries must be left in the display until the exhibit closes.

The 2014 Sugar & Spice exhibit and contest are supported by underwriting from Stewart’s Shops.

Click here for Sue Wilder's gingerbread and icing recipes and suggested references. 

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