Woodward, Okla. —
Creating a gingerbread house can be a great family activity during the holidays.
Now families who want to build these edible abodes have the chance to participate in the annual Dixie Waddle Memorial Gingerbread Contest at the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum.
"We have a new category this year for families," Museum Director Rob Roberson said.
While families have participated in the contest before, Roberson said it was always difficult to know where to place their gingerbread entries because the contest previously only had entry categories for adults, over 16-years-old, and children, 15-years-old and under.
"Thanks to a lawyer in town, Ms. Talley, who gave us a $150 donation, we were able to create the family category this year," he said.
The museum director explained that attorney Careylyn Stuckey-Talley realized the need for the new category after trying to enter the contest last winter.
"She worked on one with her own child last year, but we couldn't really put it in the child category or the adult category," Roberson said. "So she thought it would be nice to have a family category and presented us with the generous donation."
The $150 she donated will be awarded to the family entry that is selected as best in show for that category.
Additional best of show awards will be presented to the top entries in the other categories as well, with the adult winner receiving $300 and the children's winner receiving $175. In addition, cash prizes ranging from $25 to $100 will be awarded for the first, second and third place winners chosen in each of the 3 categories.
Roberson said a portion of the other prize money is provided by Harrel Waddle, the husband of the late Dixie Waddle, whom the contest is held in memory of since she originally created the contest many years ago.
"He (Harrel Waddle) keeps supporting us year after year," Roberson said.
The gingerbread contest winners will be announced and their prizes awarded during a reception from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 21. Special guest Santa Claus will also be visiting the museum that day, Roberson said, noting the whole community is invited to come enjoy the whole holiday celebration.
But if they can't make the reception, the public will still have plenty of time to view all the gingerbread entries, which will be displayed at the museum from Dec. 7 to Jan. 4, 2013.
It is free to enter the contest, but entries must be submitted to the museum by 5 p.m. on Nov. 30 to be eligible for the contest.
"So hurry up and enter," Roberson said.
Other eligibility requirements are outlined in the contest rules, copies of which are available at the museum along with entry forms and a homemade gingerbread recipe for those who may not have one.
Roberson said the rules and recipe will also soon be posted on the museum website at pipm1.org.
He said the biggest rule that contest participants need to keep in mind is that everything included in the design must be edible.
"It all has to be edible. There can't be styrofoam on the inside supporting the walls," he said.
However, it doesn't all have to be gingerbread.
"I think somebody told me they were going to be using breadsticks in their construction and that's fine; it just has to be edible," Roberson said.
But since the creations will be on display for several weeks, the museum director said participants must also keep in mind that the different edible elements must not be perishable.
"It has to be able to survive for a month," he said.
Good construction materials include "of course gingerbread, that's a standard, but you could also use graham crackers or cookies," he said. Other suggestions include candy, pretzels, cereal, and even ice cream cones.
However, when using candy, the rules state that the non-edible parts, such as paper sticks on suckers or plastic or foil wrapping cannot be included.
Roberson said that participants are encouraged to be as creative as possible with their entries.
"We don't have a theme for the contest; we just let them use their imaginations with whatever they want to make," he said. "Most people think of gingerbread houses, but they can make castles or space stations or anything they can dream up."
For more information about the contest, or to request a copy of the rules and entry form be mailed to you, contact the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum at (580) 256-6136.