Montpelier gingerbread house contest takes on an offbeat theme

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A gingerbread house competition with an offbeat theme took place in Montpelier Thursday night. Every entry had to include a renewable energy component. SunCommon, a solar energy equipment company, put the contest together, and Caledonia Spirits hosted it.

“All of the gingerbread houses are edible; the requirement was that they were not from a gingerbread house kit,” Amy Doyle of SunCommon said. “We have about 10 individual submissions, and then we have approximately 10 businesses.”

“We built kind of a Vermont farmstead to highlight our local honey, butter, cream and maple syrup,” Kate Brown of Lake Champlain Chocolates said. “Lots of chocolate. Lots of organic and fair trade chocolate ingredients.”

Lake Champlain Chocolates won a prize for Best Use of Local Ingredients. The other winners include Hender’s Bakery for Most Technically Accurate and Birchgrove Bakery for Most Creative. Adam Greenburg also took home the Greta Award, named after Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.

“It was a really fun kind of team project, with folks from production, (research and development), retail; we had a really good time”, Brown said. “I think we probably spent about 20 hours altogether working on it.”

The contestants met the renewable energy requirement by including compost bins, solar panels, electric cars or even wind turbines made from peppermint sticks with their houses. “The theme about the whole home is something that SunCommon is very passionate about,” Doyle said. “Obviously, you can get solar for your house, but there are other options to make your house sustainable and we wanted to highlight that.”

The contest hasn’t ended yet, either. SunCommon is posting photos of all of the gingerbread houses on Facebook. You can vote on your favorite, and the person or people who made the house with the most votes will win a $250 People’s Choice award. SunCommon will announce the People’s Choice winner on December 22.

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