12th Annual Gingerbread Benefit at The Umstead Hotel in Cary

1st Place- Corinna Morris of Prestonwood Country Club

Last weekend I had the honor of being a media judge for the 12th Annual Gingerbread Benefit held at the Umstead Hotel in Cary. The annual holiday event benefits Triangle Family Services and its mission of “Building a Stronger Community by Strengthening the Family”. The benefit features a gingerbread house competition with elaborate gingerbread houses designed by the Triangle’s finest chefs and bakers. More than a dozen houses were submitted for the media and attendees to view and judge. While there were many great houses, in the end the media and people’s choice award for 1st place went to the spectacular house submitted by Corinna Morris of Prestonwood Country Club.


Gingerbread House by Wii Little Chefs

The truth of the matter is it was incredibly difficult to pick any one as “best” as they were all so incredible. The creativity and attention to detail was mind boggling. Several of the homes looked like they took days to create and had elaborate scenes set up INSIDE the gingerbread house that revealed themselves only as you peered in the windows.

House Created by Harvest 18

The house pictured above was done by Harvest 18 and was a personal favorite of mine. I loved the creativity of using cereal for roof shingles and pretzel logs as siding to give it the appearance of a log cabin. The little farmers’ market filled with fruit shaped candies and Santa’s legs dangling out of the chimney were nice touches too.

2nd Place- Robin Bilodeau of Searstone

My wife and I  were also blown away by Searstone’s house which was made to resemble Raleigh’s famous Angus Barn. I loved how they used rosemary as trees and thick white icing on the rood to look like packed snow. My wife pointed out that if you viewed the house from the back you could see intricate dining rooms with tables and place settings. It was very impressive.


3rd Place- Emma Isakoff of Fearrington House

A last minute addition to the lineup was the simple yet elegant gingerbread house from Fearrington Village. Another onlooker with more baking experience than I pointed out that the clear globes were made from blown sugar and that they are extremely difficult to create. I had a nice time being a judge at the competition and enjoyed my first visit to the Umstead. If you ever have the opportunity to pay them a visit I recommend you jump at the opportunity.

About Triangle Family Services
Since 1937, Triangle Family Services (TFS) has served as a safety net for the community. TFS accomplishes its mission of “Building a Stronger Community by Strengthening the Family” through one of TFS’ focus areas that include Family Safety, Financial Stability, and Mental Health.  These direct family services directly impact children from economically disadvantaged and/or abused homes. To learn more about their mission visit the TSF website.

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