County to hold annual sustainable gingerbread house contest

ROSELAND, NJ — This December, participate in the 2018 Sustainable Homes and Habitats Gingerbread Contest at the Essex County Environmental Center, 621B Eagle Rock Ave. in Roseland. The contest is free and there are a variety of categories in which participants can compete. The deadline to register is Saturday, Dec. 1, and all entries must be delivered by Monday, Dec. 3.

The entries will be on display from Wednesday, Dec. 5, through Saturday, Dec. 15, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. An awards ceremony will be Monday, Dec. 17, at 6:30 p.m.

“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. “I am amazed at the creativeness and ingenuity of the entries each winter and look forward to another great contest.”

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; and 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, solar panels, etc., 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 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

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” on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 11 a.m. All gingerbread projects must be completed by 1 p.m. to be considered for the contest. Some materials will be provided, however participants are encouraged to bring their own materials. Registration is required for this free workshop; to register, call 973-228-8776.