By Richard Whitby
The Daily Star
---- — Gingerbread artists, start your ovens.
Main Street Oneonta will begin accepting entries for its 14th annual Gingerbread Contest on Nov. 30.
The competition, a mainstay of the organization’s efforts to bring shoppers to the city’s downtown, will be held in the days leading up to Oneonta’s Christmas tree lighting Dec. 6, when the contest winners will be announced.
Nancy Murphy, who operates the Murphy House bed and breakfast, has been involved with the contest for most of its 14 years and has seen some unusual entries and some remarkable creativity.
One year, somebody even did the Wilber Mansion, she said.
Depending on the theme for the year — this year it’s My Favorite Things — the entries have ranged from Hogwarts Castle from the “Harry Potter” films, she said, to simpler but nonetheless beautiful creations.
Building materials, too, have shown a wide range of creativity, Murphy said. Pretzels have become fences, and Necco wafers have been used as roof shingles. Some entries have made use of marzipan.
To see what creative confectioners have done with gingerbread, the contest organizers recommend that prospective entrants go to www.ultimategingerbread.com. There’s a photo page that shows some of the elaborate lengths to which some gingerbreads artists can go.
The Oneonta contest had a record 30 entries last year.
“We are doing something a little different for this year in that we are having different drop-off places,” Murphy said. “One kind of hard things for the organizers was they were all dropped off in past years to one place, and then we had to move them all around.”
This year, she said, Main Street Oneonta is asking that the adult entries be dropped off at the Community Bank, 245 Main St.; the family entries at the Key Bank, 202 Main St., and the children’s creations at the NBT Bank, 1 Wall St.
“So there’s less moving,” she said. “People put a lot of work into this, and it’s kind of hard to move it.”
A panel of judges will choose the winner in each category — adult, family and youth — with $150 going to the first place finisher, $100 to the runner up and $50 to the third-place entrant.
Entries will be accepted Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
Printed copies of the contest brochure, which contains the rules, are available at the Green Toad Book Store, 198 Main St. The brochure also is available on Main Street Oneonta’s Facebook page. It is posted at Nov. 4 on the organization’s timeline. For more information, call 432-8871, ext. 208 or write to MrsClausOneonta@gmail.com.