By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Port Angeles cake decorator Amy Matney's gingerbread sculpture of the MV Coho, titled the “Coho-Ho-Ho!,” earned a fifth-place finish in Tuesday night judging in the fifth annual Canada National Gingerbread Showcase in Victoria across the Strait of Juan de Fuca at the Inn at Laurel Point.
The Coho makes several trips daily between Port Angeles and Victoria.
Matney, owner of Dream Cakes, had the only U.S. entry in the contest.
She competed against 15 other entries from top pastry chefs and a few amateurs across Canada in the Habitat for Humanity Victoria fundraiser.
“This is the first time I've had my work judged,” Matney said.
“To go into someone else's country and take fifth is something to be proud of.”
Matney's ferry still has a chance to win a top prize: the People's Choice award.
Vote online for favorite
Starting Saturday, the public can vote for their favorite online or in person for a $3 donation to Habitat for Humanity Victoria.
Members of the public are invited to view the sweet creations at the Inn at Laurel Point, 680 Montreal St., Victoria, or at www.gingerbreadshowcase.com.
Votes are due by Jan. 4, when the gingerbread sculpture exhibit ends.
The top winners depicted a section of the Great Wall of China with a dragon perched atop a tower, and “Steampunk Cinderella,” a pumpkin carriage with a castle in shades of Salvador Dali surrealism.
“They were crazy good,” said Melanie Wood, community outreach manager for Habitat for Humanity Victoria.
“I didn't know you could get that much detail with food,” Wood said.
'Self-taught' cake artist
Matney has provided edible works of cake art for Port Angeles-area weddings, birthday parties and events in her spare time for several years.
During the day, Matney is an office manager at a medical office, and she said she is “100 percent self-taught.”
Matney said she worked on the edible sculpture — her first attempt at a gingerbread creation — for about three weeks before the delivery to the Black Ball Ferry Line, which sponsored the entry.
Black Ball Ferry Line, which owns and operates the Coho, arranged to transport the 2-foot-long, 1.5-foot-tall gingerbread ferry on the real thing.
The confection caused a backup at the port as customs agents and others gathered at her vehicle to view the unusual cargo.
“People behind me must have been wondering what was in my car that had everyone gathered around,” Matney said with a laugh.
Representation of ferry
The “Coho-Ho-Ho!” is a representation of the 341-foot Coho, which can carry 1,000 passengers and 115 vehicles.
The gingerbread version has the ship's bell, Santa sliding down the smokestack and his sleigh gliding behind the ferry.
There's also a playful orca leaping from the white-capped water, a lighthouse to guide the way and festive holiday details.
It was one of three ferries entered in the competition, including a BC Ferries entry and a private cruise entry.
In 2012, the contest raised a record $16,000 for Habitat for Humanity Victoria and was featured on national news in both the U.S. and Canada.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.