Gingerbread housing boom in progress in Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — Housing construction is peaking now in Jefferson County.

Already, nearly three dozen new homes have been built — all tiny. Crews include children, families and grownups, all working with materials that are both readily available and edible.

This gingerbread building boom is happening in two hot spots:

• The Jefferson County Library, which has its contest up now and ready for people’s choice voting on 32 finished gingerbread houses at;

• The Port Townsend Library, where the Uptown Gingerbread Contest is just getting underway.

Edible-home builders can enter the Uptown contest by bringing their finished work to the Port Townsend Library, 1220 Lawrence St., between now and Dec. 28.

The library, open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, will display the entries and invite visitors to vote on their favorites through Dec. 29.

To enter this competition, cosponsored by the Port Townsend Main Street Program, the architect must build a dwelling with a footprint no larger than 18 inches by 18 inches. There’s no limit on height, and anything goes as long as it’s edible: real gingerbread, graham crackers, candy, potato chips, pasta.

Port Townsend Mayor Michelle Sandoval is the esteemed juror, said library director Melody Sky Weaver, adding the mayor will judge three categories: children 12 and younger; most creative and most literary.

Those and the people’s choice winners will be announced Dec. 30, to receive prizes from donors including Aldrich’s and the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.

In the meantime, potential builders can phone the library for support at 360-385-3181.

On Wednesday, the first day for delivering gingerbread housing projects to the library, Weaver said she was still awaiting some. The library offered free homebuilding kits earlier this month; those were gone within three days.

The lack of entries “hopefully means people are working extra hard,” Weaver added.

Examples of what is possible await on the Jefferson County Library’s gingerbread house contest page. In this competition titled “Homes for the Holidays” are photos of 32 entries in the family, youth and adult classes, all ready for online voting.

A range of architectural styles and weather conditions can be seen on the site: “The Vanderbeeker’s Brownstone” by Riley Bufford and the snowy “Candystone Cottage” by Jessalyn Northey are among the 19 entries in the youth category, while the adult class includes the manicured “Ginger Green” by Dawn Kuhlman and “Mid-Century Home” by Cheri Myers.

The winners of the Jefferson County Library contest will be announced Dec. 22 on the library website,

This contest has no tangible prizes beyond the pride of victory, organizer Kim Tingelstad said.

“It’s nice to see people just want to make them and have fun,” she added.


Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

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