Making spirits bright: Parks and Recreation hosting virtual gingerbread house contest

Drew Butler
News alert

Ardmore Parks and Recreation are taking some of the season’s festivities virtual with an online gingerbread house decorating contest. This last-minute addition to the year’s planned activities came about after they made the decision to cancel their large, public events because of coronavirus.

Recreation Supervisor Tes Stewart said her department felt it was important to create a fun and safe event to help spread holiday cheer. They came up with the idea after learning about another city hosting a similar event.

“We wanted to do something to help spread the Christmas joy this year, and we didn’t want to give up on that,” Stewart said. “A lot of our events got canceled, but you can always find a way to spread joy throughout the community. That’s something we — as parks and recreation — don’t give up on. We’re always doing whatever we can to support our community and bring people things to do during this difficult time.”

The contest runs from December 7 to December 20 and will be divided into two categories: Family and ages 55 and over. Contestants are asked to post three photos that showcase different angles of their gingerbread house to a specially created Facebook event page run by Ardmore Parks and Recreation. A first place and a runner up will be selected in both categories on December 21, and all four winning gingerbread houses will receive a prize.

“We want you to use your imagination and creativity to make this your own,” Stewart said. “If you’re a skilled baker and you want to make the gingerbread and the icing from scratch, go for it. Or you can purchase a kit and add your own personality to it. You can do what you want, because it’s all about having fun.”

Stewart said the contest has become quite popular, and several people have already signed up to participate. The first 10 people to register in each category all received a free gingerbread house kit, and all 20 kits have already been taken.

To participate in the contest, email Tes Stewart at by December 6 to register. Then post three photos to the Ardmore Parks and Recreation Gingerbread House Contest event page. The winners will be notified via email.

In addition to the gingerbread house contest, Stewart said the Parks Department is also offering several other events this holiday season. The Festival of Lights will be running in Regional Park through December 30. Central Park is also decorated for the season, and Santa’s mailbox will be there until December 18. Children can post a self-addressed, stamped envelope along with their letter, and they will receive a personal response from Santa Claus himself.