Culture

"The Berry Hotel," crafted by Lucy Juedes, the second-place winner in the non-professional adult category in the 2016 Uptown for the Holidays Gingerbread Display and Competition. The creation will be on display at Court Street Coffee throughout the month of December. (Carolyn Rogers/WOUB)
"The Berry Hotel," crafted by Lucy Juedes, the second-place winner in the non-professional adult category in the 2016 Uptown for the Holidays Gingerbread Display and Competition. The creation will be on display at Court Street Coffee throughout the month of December. (Carolyn Rogers/WOUB)

Gingerbread Competition Brings Sweet Cheer to Uptown Athens

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Since 2013, the Uptown for the Holidays Gingerbread House Display and Competition has been bringing sweet-tooth satisfying holiday cheer to the windows of Court Street businesses.

The call for entries kicked off in early October, with categories for professional and non-professional bakers, kids, teens and groups. Last night marked the judging for the 2016 competition, which awarded $1,600 in cash prizes to the winning entries.

Starting today, the winning creations will be nestled in the windows of five Court Street businesses, with the rest of the entries on display throughout the month of December at the Southeast Ohio History Center, 24 W. State St.

“We have some families who have made it a tradition to enter every year,” said Jan Hodson, who co-created the competition with longtime friend Joyce Mullins. “Last year over 900 people attended the display, and we’re hoping that the competition will continue to grow.”

The $500 grand prize winning rendering go the Berry Hotel by Kristin and Keith Barron. (Carolyn Rogers/WOUB)
The $500 grand-prize winning rendering of The Berry Hotel by Kristin and Keith Barron. (Carolyn Rogers/WOUB)

Second place in the child’s category was Linus Juedes, 10, with his gingerbread take on Peden Stadium; complete with two teams of Sour Patch Kids – entitled “Ghost of Christmas Future: Peden Stadium.”

“This is the Alexander (Elementary) team,” said Juenes, pointing out the diminutive team on one side of the sugary field. He then shifted his attention to the larger team of fruit-flavored football players. “And this is the Athens (Elementary) team.”

Linus was the quarterback for the Alexander youth football team, an experience that he said he drew from to execute his gingerbread model.

His mother, Lucy Juenes, crafted the second-place winning entry in the non-professional adult category, which kept in line with her family’s A Christmas Carol theme, entitled “A Ghost of Christmas Past: The Berry Hotel.”

"White's Mill" by echoingConnections.(Carolyn Rogers/WOUB)
“White’s Mill” by echoingConnections. (Carolyn Rogers/WOUB)

“I got pictures from the OU archive of the hotel, and I just did it,” said Lucy. “The Berry Hotel was interesting because the owner of the hotel (Edward C. Berry) was African American, and very few people knew that at the time. The hotel was really the place to stay in the area back then.”

Hayden Myers, 13, took home second place in the teen category with her Wizard of Oz-influenced “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore” gingerbread house.

“I used gray royal icing to give the roof some texture, to make it look like it had gone through a tornado,” said Myers, who said that she has considerable enthusiasm for the classic 1939 film. She used coconut, green food coloring, melted chocolate and edible flowers and more to give her creation some realistic dimension.

Olivia Johnson, a professional pastry chef who works out of Chillicothe, was awarded the $500 grand prize in the professional category.

“I really wanted to do something where I could make a cut away – something that has an interesting inside,” said Johnson, who found her perfect subject in the historic Athena Cinema. “Part of the theater is underground, so I decided to put Santa’s secret workshop down there.”

A detail from Olivia Johnson's professional category $500 grand prize winning "The Athena Cinema." (Carolyn Rogers/WOUB)
A detail from Olivia Johnson’s professional category $500 grand-prize winning “The Athena Cinema.” (Carolyn Rogers/WOUB)

A full listing of the winners and where their work will be on display is below. The Southeast Ohio History Center will be home to the greatest number of entries until Dec. 29. Their hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended hours on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The organization is closed on Sunday and Monday. During operating hours, the organization’s festively stocked gift shop will be open.

CHILD CATEGORY
$200 First Prize: Meena Juedes, with “Ghost of Christmas Present-the Dairy Barn”, displayed at the Southeast Ohio History Center
Second Place: Linus Juedes, with “Ghost of Christmas Future-Peden Stadium” displayed at the College Book Store, winner of a gift basket from the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau

TEEN CATEGORY:
$200 First Prize: Will Chambers with “Berry Hotel Through the Years”, displayed at the Southeast Ohio History Center
Second Place: Hayden Myers with “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore”, displayed at Cross Court, winner of a gift basket from the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau

GROUP CATEGORY:
$200 First Prize: Sara Helfrich and Chris Hayes with “The Great Escape”, displayed at Chapman’s Jewelers
Second Place: The Hain and Robinson Families with “Home Tweet Home” displayed at the Southeast Ohio History Center, winner of a gift basket from the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau

GRAND PRIZE NON-PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY SPONSORED BY THE UPTOWN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION:
$500 Grand Prize: Kristin and Keith Barron with “The Berry Hotel”, displayed at the Southeast Ohio History Center
Second Place: Lucy Juedes with “The Berry Hotel”, displayed at Court Street Coffee, winner of a gift basket from the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau

GRAND PRIZE PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY SPONSORED BY THE ATHENS COUNTY CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU:
$500 Grand Prize: Olivia Johnson with “The Athena Cinema”, displayed at the Southeast Ohio History Center
Second Place: Nancy Mingus and Jennifer Dillie with “The Athens County Dog Shelter”, displayed at the Southeast Ohio History Center, winner of a gift basket from the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau

OTHER ENTRIES

“Clark’s Chapel” by Ruby and Eliza Kopenski is displayed at Ohio Realty

The following entries are displayed at the Southeast Ohio History Center:
– “White’s Mill” by echoingConnections
– “Miller’s Holiday Houses” by the Miller Family