Gingerbread contest winners announced in Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND ¬­– Most people who saw the documentary, “Man on a Wire,” about the tightrope walker crossing a high wire between the World Trade Center towers in 1974, thought “What amazing thing he did,” and “Think of all the engineering that went into the preparation.”

Ray Grier came out of the theater thinking, “What a great idea for a gingerbread house!”

An annual entrant in Aldrich’s Gingerbread House Contest, Grier, a Port Townsend artist, managed to replicate the scene in dough, balancing the gingerbread man on a wire between the two towers.

It was just one of the imaginative entries in the 16th annual contest, which ranged from modern architecture to elaborate gingerbread houses with gardens, flowing rivers, people, dogs and wildlife.

Contest winners were announced on Saturday at Aldrich’s Market, 940 Lawrence St., Port Townsend.

The 18 entries will be on display through next Saturday.

First place in “group” category went to “Santa’s New Sleigh,” a gingerbread ferry pulled by twin reindeer, created by Shannon Murock and her daughter, Lily Murock, of Port Townsend.

“Every year, we try to do something that has a comment to make,” Shannon said.

“A gift to us and our downtown retailers would be a ferry, and who brings gifts but Santa?”

Building with gingerbread is not without risk — one of Grier’s twin gingerbread towers collapsed during construction, he said.

Ferry construction also had delays.

“We had some cracking issues, which was appropriate,” Shannon Murock said.

Tying for second place in the “group” category was a two-story gingerbread log cabin created by sisters Laura and Katy Forest.

“Did you see the bear?” Laura Forest asked as people viewed the cabin, which bordered a river with a shark and a mermaid swimming in it.

The other second-place winner: a decorated birdhouse with a heart-shaped entrance by the Freita and Nickasia families.

Emily Skeel, 9, took first place in the under-12 age category with two small cottages, peppermint stepping stones spanning a river between them.

Honorable mentions in the under-12 age category went to Amani Dunston and Hannah Bahls.

First place in the over-12 category went to Coyote Herrick for an open-roof gingerbread house, complete with ladder.

Honorable mentions went to Jakob Bueche and Coyote’s mother, Janice Herrick.

Among the entries were “Stonehenge in its Original Form,” by Cecelia Bahls and Jude Rubin, and “House of Cards,” by Jane, Jenny and Alice Peterson, Mari Mullen and Julia Mullen Gordon.

Sisters Hopi and Emily Jayne built a house of the future, complete with solar panels, a windmill, a compost pile and a garden with candy beets, cauliflower, broccoli and tomatoes.

“I can’t tell you how many comments we receive from people who come through the store,” said Milt Fukuda, whose family owns Aldrich’s.

“We appreciate everyone who participated in this historic contest.”

Staff working at the store on Saturday voted to decide the winners, Fukuda said.


Port Townsend/Jefferson County reporter/columnist Jennifer Jackson can be reached at

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