KINGSBURG – It was impossible to not notice the theme behind the very green entry at the 2018 Kingsburg District Chamber of Commerce’s annual Gingerbread House Decorating Contest.
The Gingerbread House Contest was part of the town’s Santa Lucia celebration and the winners were recently announced by the Chamber.
Although Brooke Brady’s entry only took second place in her age bracket, it stood out as it resembles the family’s own real home where they decorate their entire yard and home after the beloved Dr. Seuss character.
“We decorate our house for the Grinch and we always watch the movie,” seven-year-old Brady said.
For that effort, their family took first place in the Commerce’s 2017 ‘Deck the Halls’ Christmas house-decorating contest.
The Bradys are inspired by the Grinch’s transformation in the movie and use his fuzzy green appearance as inspiration for their décor.
Brooke’s Grinch-themed entry was more of a family affair since her mom, Andrea Brady, helped her with some parts of her design and her little brother, Daniel, 3, helped by basically eating the leftover icing.
“He tried to help with the fondant, but it didn’t work too well,” Andrea Brady said. “He helped roll it.”
Her dad, Danny Brady, also helped with some decorating ideas and at one point when the miniature tree toppled over, he stepped in to help with that emergency.
“It took a lot of frosting and some fondant. It was leaning a little bit so we had to call in some reinforcements,” he said.
Brooke’s been in the contest for three years now and her plan is to just keep entering every year since she loves the creative side of the contest so much.
“She also watches all those holiday baking championships,” Danny Brady said of his daughter’s year-long interest in baking.
“You did a lot of research on the internet, too, looking at pictures,” Danny Brady said of getting ideas for the entry.
“We baked the gingerbread and used a lot of food coloring and had to mix it,” Brooke said of initial steps. Then, they used a variety of toppings like coconut and different candies to decorate the house and yard.
“It’s very hard, very had to not eat the candies,” Brooke admits. “[Contestants] need to be patient and know what to do. You can’t just throw everything on it and have it be a glob of stuff,” she said.
For inspiration for next year’s contest, Brooke encourages others to think of characters they like from movies, cartoons or books as inspiration for a gingerbread entry. And if the first attempt doesn’t turn out just right, the house can be eaten and “they can just keep practicing.”
Brooke was very excited to hear the results of this year’s contest and according to her mom would start planning her 2019 entry right away.
“Believe it or not, she started planning this last year,” Andrea Brady said.
Most of the other gingerbread entries came from students who attend Immanuel Schools, Chamber Director Kaitlyn Castaneda said.
Of the other entries, Brooke said she liked the castle-looking design best. Later, it would be revealed that entry was the winner for the 13 and older category and was made by Nikki McArron, Noelle Robbins and Lauren Thomas. Allison Friesen, Katie Hofer and Nicole Just teamed up and their entry took first place for those 12 and younger. Janet Laemmlen’s entry won the People’s Choice award. Judging took place Dec. 1 during Santa Lucia and the entries were displayed in City Chamber Hall on Draper Street.
“It reminds me of the Harry Potter movies I’ve watched,” Brooke said of that house. “It looks like it because it’s huge and the windows look the same.”
And once the contest is over, the gingerbread entries can either be eaten or displayed as a table centerpiece. That’s what the Brady’s do with Brooke’s creations, especially since this year it matches their home.
“You should have seen us trying to transport it. That was interesting,” Andrea said. “[Brooke] carried it the whole way in the car. We held our breath the whole way, but she did good. It survived. It made it.”