County presents awards in gingerbread contest

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ROSELAND, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. presented awards to the children and families who participated in the Essex County Environmental Center’s 12th annual Sustainable Homes and Habitats Gingerbread Contest on Tuesday, Dec. 20. There were 37 entries in this year’s contest.

“Our Sustainable Homes and Habitats Gingerbread Contest is a wonderful project that incorporates our mission to raise awareness about nature with a holiday theme. This hands-on, family-oriented contest lets people of all ages learn about the environment in a fun way,” DiVincenzo said. “I am amazed at the creativeness and ingenuity of the entries each winter. Everyone who participated in this contest was a winner.”

In the group/family category, Thea, Jeff, Dottie and Frank DeFrank from South Orange took first place; Ella, Ashlyn, Avery and Hayden McAdams from Montclair took second place; and the Gaudiosi Family from Roseland took third place.

In the individual child category, West Orange’s Mesgana Geberyesus took first place; Montclair’s Natalie Steele took second place; and Newark’s Gabrielle King-Price took third.

In the non-professional adult category, first place went to Aleah Colon-Alfonso from Caldwell; second place to Patricia and Dylan Saraciniello from Fairfield; and third place to Essex County College West Caldwell Campus culinary arts students Dominique Thomas, Krystal Guevara, Ingrid Cruz, Azaria Agosto and Crystal Gonzalez, and their teacher Victoria Atfield.

In the adult professional category, first place went to Tamara and Alexandra Hon from Livingston; second place went to Highlawn Pavilion from West Orange; and third place went to ShopRite in West Caldwell.

Entries were judged on distinctiveness, creative use of a nature theme, use of “green” building design techniques and skill in decoration. The gingerbread homes were on display at the Essex County Environmental Center during the month of December.