Essex County hosts gingerbread house contest

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — The public is invited to participate in the 2016 Sustainable Homes and Habitats Gingerbread Contest at the Essex County Environmental Center. The contest is free and there are four categories in which participants can compete. The deadline to register is Saturday, Dec. 3, and all entries must be delivered on Saturday, Dec. 3, or Monday, Dec. 5.

The entries in the annual Sustainable Homes and Habitats Gingerbread Contest will be on display as follows:

  • At the Essex County Environmental Center, 621B Eagle Rock Ave., Roseland, from Wednesday, Dec. 7, through Friday, Dec. 16, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

An awards ceremony will be held Saturday, Dec. 17, 9:30 a.m., also at the Essex County Environmental Center in Roseland.

“Our Sustainable Homes and Habitats Gingerbread Contest is a wonderful event that incorporates our mission to raise awareness about nature with a holiday theme. This hands-on, family-oriented project lets people of all ages learn about the environment in a fun way,” Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. said in a press release.

The public is invited to participate in four categories:

  • Individual Child Category, for children ages 14 or younger who work independently on all aspects of their entry.
  • Group/Family Category, for children 14 and younger who work as a group or have adult assistance on any aspect of their entry. A maximum of five people can work on one entry.
  • Adult Non-Professional Category, for individuals or groups of people — no more than five people per group — ages 15 and older — who are students of the culinary arts or are not professional chefs.
  • Adult Professional Category, for individuals or groups of people ages 15 and older who are professional chefs or are working in the culinary arts.

The base of all entries cannot be larger than 12 inches by 18 inches. There must be at least three identifiable sustainable building design elements, such as candy glass skylights, rainwater reuse or solar panels, and/or a natural habitat component. Children’s entries may have a cardboard foundation; however, all surfaces, including the base, must be covered with an edible product. All adult entries must be entirely edible, including the base, structure and all decorations.

Entries will be judged on guideline adherence, creative use of a nature theme, use of green building design techniques and skill in decoration. Ribbons and prizes will be awarded in all categories. The decisions of the judges are final. Essex County and the Essex County Environmental Center do not assume responsibility for damage or loss.

For more information and to obtain a complete set of contest rules, call the Essex County Environmental Center at 973-228-8776 or visit www.essexcountynj.org.

Need help? Come to the workshop.For people who would like to enter but have been too busy to register or need a little help getting started, the Essex County Environmental Center staff is hosting a “Gingerbread House Making Workshop.” Some materials will be provided, however participants are encouraged to bring their own materials. The free workshop will be held Saturday, Dec. 3, at 11 a.m. at the Essex County Environmental Center, 621B Eagle Rock Ave. in Roseland. All creations made during the “Gingerbread House Making Workshop” must be completed by the end of the class at 1 p.m. to be eligible for the contest.

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