PORT TOWNSEND — Aldrich’s Market learned it’s not a good idea to mess with a tradition, especially when there’s gingerbread, frosting and gumdrops.
That’s why the market at 940 Lawrence Street is extending the deadline for entries in its gingerbread house contest to Jan. 14.
“This is our first year doing it and we thought it would be fun to get it done before Christmas as part of the Christmas festivities,” said Scott Rogers, the store’s newest owner.
The tradition is in its 25th year.
Entries were originally only to be accepted until Dec. 14 and to be judged Dec. 16, but many kids who would have participated were not yet out of school for winter break, he said.
“As the deadline came close we had several parents email and call us and say they were disappointed their kids wouldn’t be able to participate this year,” he said.
There had only been one gingerbread creation entered into the annual competition before the deadline came around — and there are four categories: 8 and younger, 9 to 13, 14 to 18 and an open division for those age 18 and older.
Now there are about eight gingerbread houses entered. Among the creations are re-creations of the MV Salish, which serves the Port Townsend-Coupeville ferry route, and a scene from Fort Worden.
“This year is our first year doing it as Aldrich’s again and we didn’t want to mess it up,” Rogers said. “It’s a big tradition.”
He said each time someone walks through the door with an entry it’s an event for the entire staff.
“Everyone in the store gets excited about it,” he said, adding that employees usually make sure to crowd around and get a good look.
The competition was held downtown last year and was put on by the Port Townsend Main Street Program after Aldrich’s nearly closed in November 2016. When Rogers and his wife purchased the market at the beginning of the year, he knew he wanted to continue the tradition.
“I don’t know the history of how [the competition] started, but I know it’s one of those things that everybody in Port Townsend looks forward to,” he said. “It’s one of the many things about this store that’s steeped in town tradition.”
The gingerbread creations will be on display through Jan. 14 when they are judged, he said.
Judges will be looking at creativity and how well the gingerbread houses fit in with the theme, “Uniquely Port Townsend,” he said.
He’s hoping for the most creativity in the “open” category, which is essentially anything goes.
Entries can be dropped off at Aldrich’s Market any time before the deadline. The largest they can be is 24 inches by 24 inches.
They are also not allowed to be political. Kids 8 and under are encouraged to just have fun, he said.
The entry form, which is available at Aldrich’s, reminds entrants that the store has twenty-foot ceilings.
For more information go to aldrichs.com or call 360-385-0500.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].