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Gingerbread house competition heats up

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013

Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2013 23:12

University of Connecticut faculty and staff will compete for the title of best gingerbread house decorators at the annual Winter Holiday Celebration on Friday, Dec. 6 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Rome Commons Ballroom.

When the gingerbread house decorating commences at 2:30 p.m., 23 five-person teams representing a variety of UConn departments will use icing, candies, crackers, pretzels, coconut and chocolates, as well as a few “mystery items,” to adorn their pre-assembled gingerbread houses. They will have 45 minutes to complete their houses before a crowd of 230 expected guests, said Anne Hill, program coordinator of University Events and Conference Services.

A panel of three celebrity judges – UConn President Susan Herbst, Provost Mun Choi and Vice President of Communications Tysen Kendig – whose names were not released until Thursday will have the largest role in determining the winners of the competition. The celebrity judges will cast votes of 25 and 15 points to their first and second favorite teams, respectively. Competing teams will be allowed two votes worth five points each, one of which must be for another team, and guests will be allowed one vote.

In the 2012 competition, the Gingersnaps from the School of Business Career Center took home the grand prize for their 1920s-era house modeled after Gatsby’s residence in “The Great Gatsby.” Other houses took on the forms of a wintry covered bridge, a jazz club, a 1920s-era car, London’s Tower Bridge during the 2012 Olympic Games and much more.

This Friday, the Gingersnaps will attempt to regain their bragging rights as UConn’s top gingerbread house decorators and earn the grand prize of a university catered sandwich buffet for up to 20 people. Second place team members will win lunch at Chuck and Augie’s.

A new feature of the 2013 contest is the addition of a “most popular” prize, which was added due to the request of past competitors, Hill said. This year, in addition to the judges selecting the first and second place winners, guests at the event will vote on their favorite gingerbread design. The team receiving the most votes will earn a gift certificate to the UConn Dairy Bar.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of the event is the fun atmosphere and group collaboration that the friendly competition creates.

“It’s very cheerful, and the teams are very excited when they get there,” Hill said. “It’s also a great team-building activity. Hopefully the teams will bring the positive energy from the event back to their offices.” 

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