A gingerbread house waits to be judged at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

A gingerbread house waits to be judged at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Break out the gingerbread

Annual contests put kids’ creativity to the test.

The 9th Annual Gingerbread House Contest is underway at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.

Kim Sparacio, the programs and facilities coordinator of the center, said the contest is pretty popular in the community.

“It’s usually a huge success. We get a lot of people to participate,” she said.

In 2019 the contest saw its largest turnout — 50 houses — but Sparacio said the average hovers closer to 30.

Kids, with the help of family and friends if they choose, may submit a gingerbread house to the chamber this week through Friday. They’ll be on display until the week of Dec. 17, when judging will commence. The winners will be determined by a public vote.

The cash prize for kids ages 9 and under is $40, $60 for 10- to 15-year-olds, and $75 for the 16 to 18 category.

Sparacio said kids and their families have created intricate designs in the past. Once, she said, a contestant even melted down jolly ranchers to make stained-glass windows.

Although family and friends are welcome to help the kids, Sparacio said some people choose to go solo on their projects.

“A lot of children do it themselves,” she said. “They are such artists.”

The contest is a part of the chamber’s “Christmas Comes to Kenai” programming.

“It’s been a staple for our community,” Sparacio said. “It just brings families closer together, family and friends … to celebrate the holiday season.”

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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