Gingerbread Jimmi contest kicks off Christmas season
The Vince Guaraldi trio would say, ‘Christmas is here’ and local families can start celebrating the season at the 13th annual Gingerbread Jimmi House competition.
This year’s event, which amounts to an in-person party, is scheduled for Dec. 6 at the Park City Library, said JR Holbrook, creator of Gingerbread Jimmi and author of “Gingerbread Jimmi: Magical Storybook.”
“We had a Zoom contest last year because of COVID, and it was fun, but there’s nothing quite like doing it in person,” Holbrook said. “So we are really looking forward to it. “
The Gingerbread Jimmi House Contest is a time for kids ages 5 to 12 to create gingerbread structures that will be on display at the Park City Library until January 1. The rules and applications are available at the Park City Library, and they can also be downloaded by visiting parkcitylibrary.org.
Masks are suggested, but not required to attend the event, and all surfaces will be wiped down and sanitized, Holbrook said.
Entrants can start submitting their designs on Friday, December 3, and all entries must be submitted by 6 p.m. on Monday, December 6 in order to be judged, Holbrook said.
“We want to make sure the kids have enough time to drop off their homes so that we don’t have a mad rush on competition day,” he said.
According to Holbrook, Youth Services Librarian Katrina Kmak will receive the entries, keep them in a safe place and bring them for judgment.
This year’s judges will be Nann Worel, Mayor-elect of Park City; Diego Zegarra, vice president of equity and impact for the Park City Community Foundation; and Jenny Hardman, host of Fox 13’s “The Place”.
“Thanks to our sponsors, we are able to award cash prizes again this year,” said Holbrook.
The prices will be distributed as follows:
• First: $ 75
• Second: $ 50
• Third: $ 25
• First: $ 100
• Second: $ 75
• Third: $ 50
In addition to the contest itself, the event will feature opportunity drawings, a Gingerbread Jimmi story hour, read by “Grandpa Ron” – Holbrook’s father – and a visit from Santa Claus.
“We do the designs to make sure that every child who participates has something to take home,” said Holbrook.
Holbrook is grateful to his 80-year-old father for still wanting to make story time.
“It means a lot to me because my dad expects to be part of the celebration,” Holbrook said. “In the early years, Santa Claus read the stories, but for some reason, Santa found it hard to read the stories. He would get nervous, then his glasses would fog up, so he couldn’t see the words.
For a story hour, Santa Claus began to make up his own story because he couldn’t see the pages, and the kids called him out, Holbrook said.
“The kids all knew the story of Gingerbread Jimmi, and they said, ‘This is not how the story unfolds, Santa Claus,’” he said. “It was so funny, but after that we decided to have my dad read the book while Santa was standing nearby.”
The change has proven to be effective, Holbrook said.
“My dad loves public speaking and unbeknownst to me he was doing presentations at youth homes and reading the book to the younger ones,” he said. “He’s really getting down to it, so when I heard him read the book for the first time in the Gingerbread Jimmi contest, I was blown away.”
Holbrook is also grateful for being able to continue the event, which has become an inclusive tradition for many families.
“We have Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim families entering into these magical creations, and it warms my heart,” he said. “I think Christmas is a time when families can be together and create memories and fun things like gingerbread houses, regardless of their religion. And they are all part of our extended family.