This year Lisa Hood Skinner was selected as one of 10 national judges for the 17th annual National Gingerbread House Contest held at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C. last week.
The Grove Park folks are about 92% sure Skinner was the first Tennessee judge ever in the history of the contest. In regards to South Knoxville/Seymour…she’s from South Knoxville and her folks still live in the Colonial Heights area (Bill and Betty Hood).
Totally aside from the Seymour/South Knoxville Tennessee angle,” other good local angles are that:
• the dozens and dozens of gingerbread houses will be on display at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville now through Jan. 3, Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (a nice holiday tradition, many folks around here yearly make that drive to see the display);
• the “South of the River” Knox area had two local winners (Maryville’s Amanda Spafford won first place children 5-8 years category, and Maryville’s Emily Spafford won third place youth 9-12 years category).
• The contest also garners really strong entries from across Tennessee, including last year’s Grand Prize winner (like a best in show) from Burns, Tennessee.
• Future timely angle: winning entries also will be driven up to New York City for an upcoming Dec. 24 appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America (Newswoman Diane Sawyer makes that a tradition each year).
This year, the contest has more “Tennessee dimensions” to it than it’s had in the past.
The I-40 rockslide has really cut down on the number of folks traveling to Asheville this year, and it would be terrible for a holiday tradition like this to languish.
Skinner and her husband went through Newport to Asheville last weekend and got there in 2 hours with no problems. And, since the rockslide, the Grove Park Inn has bent backwards in encouraging folks to come see the displays…they’re offering some great rooms deals with discounted rates called “Tennessee Friends” on their website.
Photo Caption; A judging session of Lisa Hood Skinner (L) with Colette Peters, celebrity chef and judge. The entry they're looking at was actually done by a boy, whose interpretation was of “Star Wars” type ships fighting “old-time” soldiers from the civil war era. It was…different!!!. Colette is the “cakemaker to the stars” out of New York, N.Y. The owner of Colette’s Cakes, a specialty cake company in New York City, she’s designed celebrity cakes for Whoopi Goldberg, Al Pacino, Sting, Bette Midler, Hilary Clinton, and the Rolling Stones (and for Yoko Ono for her 75th birthday). She’s written five best selling books on cake decorating and teaches the art worldwide. Modern Bride magazine named Ms. Peters as Trend Setter of the Year, while Pastry Art & Design magazine named her to its “Ten Best Pastry Chefs in America.
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