ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WBIR) -- A resort in Asheville, North Carolina is about to mark a century of service.
The Grove Park Inn is easing into that year-long celebration with holiday events and decorations.
That includes the Inn's annual Gingerbread House Competition.
"This makes their holiday," Grove Park Inn VP & GM Ron Morin said.
The holidays sparkle at Asheville's Grove Park Inn with lights and trees and over the top gingerbread creations.
"Twenty years ago we started a gingerbread competition that was really a regional thing. We got people from the area to bring in gingerbread houses. And over the years the quality and the competition and the excitement has just grown and now it's the National Gingerbread House Competition," Morin said.
Artists submit the gingerbread creations from across the country. One is from Loudon, Tennessee and features a realistic looking window made of sugar. It's that attention to detail that makes each one unique.
"It's incredible. You see some of these houses and you're like there is no way that can be edible. And they are," Floral Manager Andrea White said.
Her favorite is the Partridge in a Pear Tree.
"Actually every single leaf she made and put on that tree and it's just spectacular. It's amazing the detail that's in that tree," she said.
Some artists spent 500 hours on their houses.
Grove Park Inn Events Specialist David Mead explained the culinary judges are looking for specific elements.
"They're looking for creativity, precision, difficulty, consistency of theme. But there also are some requirements that they ask for and one is that it's limited to two foot by two foot," he said.
Another rule? It must be 75% gingerbread.
"The number one rule is that it has to be 100% edible. However, we do not say that it has to taste good," he said.
More than 200 artists entered.
The winner is from Cary, North Carolina.
Her creation is a detailed depiction of the three wise men. It earned the top prize of $7,500 and lots of admiration.
"She used a recipe that they call gingerbread clay. It's where they bake their gingerbread very dry and brittle and then crumble it and then mix it together with a substance where they make kind of a paste out of it," Mead said.
Oh, there is one more rule. This one is for visitors.
"Hands off!" Mead said with a laugh.
The gingerbread houses will be on display through January 2nd.
And if this gets you in the gingerbread mood, the University of Tennessee Gardens will host a gingerbread cookie making class from 10 to 11:30 Friday morning December 14th.
Children will learn how ginger root is used to create the cookie and will have the opportunity to decorate their own cookie. Students will also get to decorate a gingerbread ornament.