Home for the holidays: Parks department announces winners of online gingerbread house contest

Drew Butler
The Rogers Family received first place in the family category of the gingerbread decorating contest with their "Cozy Christmas Cabin."
Tammie Stephens received first place in the senior category of the online gingerbread house decorating contest.

Over the past couple weeks, many local residents have been crafting and creating gingerbread houses to enter into an online decorating contest hosted by Ardmore Parks and Recreation. The contest was divided into a senior division and a family or group division, and on Monday afternoon the winners from each were selected.

First place in the senior division went to Tammie Stevens for her gingerbread house that came complete with multiple Christmas trees on the lawn and a penguin atop a frozen pond. First place in the family category went to the Rogers family for their “Cozy Christmas Cabin.”

Ardmore Parks and Recreation Director Teresa Ervin said the parks department decided to host the online decorating contest after they made the decision to cancel the majority of the season’s public gatherings because of coronavirus.

“We came up with this idea after we had to cancel most of our Christmas activities this year,” Ervin said. “We though the gingerbread contest would be a great way for families to have fun together while they’re all at home. We also wanted to make sure our senior citizens were also included because many of them have been at home for months now because they’re more susceptible to COVID.”

While the original plan called for a winner and a runner up to be selected from each category, they ultimately decided to also select a third place winner for the family division.

“We decided to add a third place in the family division because we received much participation and they are all so wonderful,” Ervin said. “Everyone did an amazing job and truly showed their Christmas spirit.”

The second place prize in the senior division went to Lori Linney. The second place winner in the group division went to the Carranza family, and the third place winner went to the Roberts family.

While the gingerbread contest was new to this year, Ervin said many families also participated in long-time favorite park offering, Santa’s Mailbox. Ervin said the mailbox was out in Central Park through last Friday, and it has now returned to the North Pole until next year. She said 250 children wrote letters to Santa this year, and he personally wrote each child a response.