Gingerbread Jimmi House Competition turns 10 |

Gingerbread Jimmi House Competition turns 10

Baiya Sanford, 6, left with icing, races Lillie Buchanan, 7, right with icing, as they decorate their Gingerbread Jimmi cookies with pre-made frosting during the decorating contest at the Gingerbread Jimmi event at the Park City Library Monday evening, Dec. 12, 2016. Santa and other children who attended the event cheered on their friends. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)
Park Record file photo

When: 6:30-7:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 3 Where: Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave. Cost: Free Web:

The Gingerbread Jimmi House Competition, the annual Christmas event held at the Park City Library, is turning 10, and event founder J.R. Holbrook is stunned.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long,” Holbrook said. “I mean, some of the kids who enter the contest have been entering it for years.”

This year’s event will be held on Monday, Dec. 3. Children must bring their gingerbread houses to the library by 6 p.m., and judging will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The judging will be divided into two categories – child, ages 5-8, and youth, ages 9-12, according to Holbrook.

It’s heartwarming to celebrate 10 years. This is something we want to continue…” J.R. Holbrook, Gingerbread Jimmi creator

The first-place winner in the child category will receive $75. Second place wins $50, and third place gets $25. The winner in the youth category will get $100, with $75 and $50 going to second and third place, respectively, he said.

All of the gingerbread houses, regardless if they won a prize, will be on display in an exhibit at the library until Jan. 1. And a party will follow the judging to kick off the exhibit.

It will include games, songs and prizes for everyone, Holbrook said.

“Everyone will be a winner, and everyone who enters is a going to get a bag of goodies,” he said. “We’ll also have Santa Claus and Gingerbread Jimmi make appearances.”

Among the giveaways will be a new “Gingerbread Jimmi Magical Storybook” CD, which will include a new song, “SnowFlakeSnow — Winter Anthem.”

Holbrook wrote the lyrics and Josh Sohn of Sohn Compositions wrote and arranged the music.

The song symbolizes a continuation of winter, Holbrook said.

“While ‘Gingerbread Jimmi’ is about Christmas, ‘SnowflakeSnow’ is about sneaking out of the house during a winter night and making snow angels,” he said.

Holbrook broke down in tears the first time he heard the completed song.

“I don’t know how to read music, and I don’t know how to read music, but I can write,” he said. “So I wrote the lyrics and gave them to Josh. I told him what I was feeling, and he just knew.”

Holbrook reflected on the past 10 years of the Gingerbread Jimmi House Competition, and said he didn’t think it would last.

“We started it with Heather Reynolds, who was the youth services librarian, back then,” he said. “We first held it in the old, musty and cute library. And the goal was to do an event that would bring people to the library.”

After the event, the Reynolds put the gingerbread houses up throughout the library.

“That made everything smell so good,” Holbrook said.

Shortly afterwards, Reynolds moved to Austin, Texas, to be with her family, and in 2014, the library building underwent a $9.6 million renovation.

During that time, the library temporarily moved across the street to Miners Hospital.

“The youth services librarian at that time was Candy Markle, and I told her we could skip a year, because Miners Hospital was so small,” Holbrook said. “But she told me the kids were already looking forward to it.”

The party went on without a hitch, even though some of the houses were displayed on the floor because of the tight space, according to Holbrook.

After reopening in 2015, Gingerbread Jimmi House Competition returned to 1255 Park Ave.

“The renovated library is really beautiful, and we have a great librarian, Katrina Kmak, who is wonderful to work with,” Holbrook said. “It’s heartwarming to celebrate 10 years. This is something we want to continue.”

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