The sunlit lobby of downtown Victoria’s Parkside Hotel and Spa is filled with the sweet, snappy aroma of gingerbread and icing sugar.
This year, 29 contestants are participating in the 11th annual Gingerbread Showcase, the largest roster to date. The annual event sees professional bakers and home-based enthusiasts make their biggest and greatest holiday treats to fundraise for Victoria’s Habitat for Humanity.
This year the theme was “Building a Diverse Community,” which saw everything from intricate construction cranes to alien settlements, to forest creatures lazing on a stump – all made with candy, Rice Krispies, fondant and of course, gingerbread.
“There are some rules,” explained Kelly King, director of communications for Habitat for Humanity Victoria. “Everything used must be edible, it must fit on the two-by-two platter and the creation must be at least 18 inches high.”
Bakers spend more than 100 hours each on the projects, and are competing for titles of First Place Amateur, Best First Impression, People’s Choice, Best Interpretation of the Theme, Most Creative and Original and Best Use of Skill and Technique.
The public can come in and place its vote by donation, with funds raised going towards 11 homes being built by Habitat for Humanity in the Capital Region. In 2018, the event drew in more than $93,000 in donations.
“It really is a special event for us, and we really love just involving the local community,” said Ashley Priest, guest services manager at Parkside Hotel and Spa. “It’s really becoming a focal point in Victoria over the holidays both for our guests here in the hotel and for the local community.”
The event will be open to the public from Nov. 16 to Jan. 6 in the atrium at the Parkside Hotel and Spa at 810 Humboldt St.