Library will continue to house Gingerbread Jimmi competition
November 21, 2014
Six years ago, author and fashion designer J.R. Holbrook held the first Gingerbread Jimmi House Competition at the Park City Library.
The idea stemmed from his 2004 children’s book, "Gingerbread Jimmi: Magical Storybook," which was about a gingerbread man who lived in Park City.
Children from around the city entered homemade gingerbread houses that were judged by local bigwigs including then-Mayor Dana Williams and the houses were put on display throughout the month of December.
In addition, the top winners received cash prizes, but in the end, everyone was able to take a prize of some sort home.
Since then, the competition has become a tradition for many families, Holbrook told The Park Record.
"This year, as you know, the Park City Library is being renovated and so everything was moved temporarily to Miners Hospital," Holbrook said. "I told [youth services librarian] Candy Markle that we could forgo the competition this year and come back bigger next year, but she said this year was a go because everyone really wanted to have it this year. Candy told me that they already had kids and parents asking about it."
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So the sixth annual Gingerbread Jimmi House Competition will be held at the Park City Library, 1354 Park Ave., on Monday, Dec. 1, from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
Rules and applications are available at the library’s front desk.
One of the reasons why Markle wanted to go forward with the competition this year was because it benefits the library.
"[Candy] told me they are able to expand the children’s section over in the old building because they raised quite a bit of money through our event over the years," Holbrook said. "And I love that."
Attracting people to the library was the big reason why Holbrook began the event.
"These days, people are so connected with their mobile devices, so I think the competition is a great way to get people into the library and maybe pick up a physical book," he said. "There is nothing like the feel of a library and having the houses on display makes it more magical. I mean, everything smells like sugar during this time."
The competition will be held downstairs in the children’s book department.
"The space is so darling," Holbrook said. "It’s small, so our event will be a little crowded this year. I’m looking forward to seeing how they will set it up."
All entries must be at the library by 6 p.m. on Dec. 1.
"The kids will be able to drop them off any time until then," Holbrook said. "We will start the party at 6:30 p.m.
"We will also have frosting on hand for any repairs that need to be done," he said with a laugh. "We’ve had some disasters in the past when kids bring their houses in and the wind blows or they drop them."
The competition feature two entry categories.
"The first is for children ages 5 to 8," Holbrook said. "The second is for youths ages 9 through 12."
Cash prizes are as follows:
In addition, there will be a drawing so everyone will get a prize to take home.
"One thing that we want to make clear is that there are no losers," Holbrook said. "We want to encourage creativity in children. We’ve also had many adults ask us when we’re going to start up an adult contest."
The Gingerbread Jimmi House Competition couldn’t have lasted six years if it weren’t for sponsors, according to Holbrook.
"We are grateful to the sustaining sponsors, the Park City Library. J.W. Allen & Sons Toys at Kimball Junction and Park City Mountain Resort, for their support," he said.
Other sponsors include Baby Nee Nee, Davanza’s, Mrs. Fields Cookies and Cookies by Design.
"Cookies by Design makes our gingerbread awards that we give out to the competition winners," Holbrook said. "Davanza’s makes all of the little treat cookies that we pass out to everyone during the event, and then my company, Holbrook Studios, donates the cash prizes."
Holbrook doesn’t know where the houses will be on display, but he believes they will be set up throughout the library.
"That will be nice because then the kids who made the houses can bring in their friends and families back to show them what they did," he said. "While they are there, they may be able to pick up a book, right?
"I think the more you spawn that when the kids are little, it will change the direction of their lives," Holbrook said. "It’s amazing to see what kinds of houses these kids bring in. The kids are at different levels and what they do is wonderful. I mean, they are so darling and so proud to bring in their creations."
Over the past few years, Holbrook’s Gingerbread Jimmi idea has seen growth in other aspects.
"Last year, the library celebrated its 125th anniversary and Gingerbread Jimmi was able to be in the Fourth of July parade with the library entries," Holbrook said. "This was the first time we were able to be in the parade. We constructed a gingerbread house with balloons coming out of it. We had the mascot and kids dressed in Gingerbread Jimmi T-shirts."
The book has also been translated into Spanish.
"This is great because such a huge percentage of the world speaks Spanish," Holbrook said. "I speak it and there are many Park City locals who do, too. This was super important for us to do this and I had the opportunity to take the book to Spain earlier this year and people really have responded well to it.
"We have the audio book on CD, which we give out at the competition," he said. "Santa reads the English version and Mrs. Claus reads the Spanish version."
Holbrook is proud of how the competition has grown and he’s been asked to do one in Salt Lake City.
"As much as I want to do this, I want to keep this a Park City event, because Park City has such a magic to it," he said. "I also want to keep it here because Gingerbread Jimmi lives in Park City."
The sixth-annual Gingerbread Jimmi House Competition will be held at Park City Library, 1354 Park Ave., from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Entry forms are now available at the library front desk. For more information, visit http://www.gingerbreadjimmi.com .