Employee gingerbread contest today

After the contest, the winning gingerbread house will be displayed in the president’s office in Gulley Hall and the rest are sent back with the contestants. (Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons)

The ninth annual University of Connecticut gingerbread house building contest will take place Friday.

UConn Program Coordinator Anne Hill said the contest is a fun celebratory gathering for faculty and staff at the end of the semester that can also improve professional relationships.

“On the surface it seems like something kind of silly and fun, but I do think that translates to…how you’re working with your colleagues,” Hill said. “If you can team up and be creative on this project, we know when we get back to the office we’re going to have a good relationship.”

This year, the event hosted by the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice Provost, will be a book-themed “Novel Holiday.”

The contest will be held in the Rome Commons Ballroom at 2:30 p.m. Due to the spatial restrictions of the room, only 30 teams of five can compete each year, Hill said. If more than 30 teams enter, which was the case this year, a lottery will be held to select which teams will compete.

While many teams, such as the library staff, enter to compete every year, Hill said UCPD and InCHIP teams will be competing for the first time this year.

While most teams are composed of staff members, many also include faculty, Hill said. “As the years have gone on…we’ve definitely seen more and more faculty (participate).”

One major difference with the competition this year is that contestants will be given the gingerbread houses, provided by UConn Catering, deconstructed.

Hill said she has seen many remarkably creative designs in the past such as one team that sawed the house in half and built a tiki bar and another that modelled their gingerbread creation after architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic waterfall house.

Teams will have an hour to decorate their houses using 3 pounds of frosting and a box of standard food coloring as well as various candy decorations, Hill said.

There are also three mystery items that must be incorporated into the houses, such as Cheerios or fortune cookies. Team members must complete challenges, such as assembling a bucket of nuts and bolts, in order to receive the items, Hill said.  

The president and the provost select the top two houses and then the winner is determined by popular vote.

After the contest, the winning gingerbread house will be displayed in the president’s office in Gulley Hall and the rest are sent back with the contestants.

Hill said the fun experience people have when they are a part of the contest is something they can take away from the event.

“I think there is a value in it,” Hill said. “The people who participate in it and the guests who attend really have a chance to get out of their offices, get creative and then bring that back with them.”


Anna Zarra Aldrich is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at anna.aldrich@uconn.edu. She tweets @ZarraAnna.