Sugar and spice and a chance for cash |

Sugar and spice and a chance for cash

Alisha Self, Of the Record staff

Do you a) love to eat sweets, b) like to make things, and c) want to earn some extra cash? An upcoming contest may just be your ticket to happiness this holiday season. The only catch? You have to be between the ages of five and 12.

Children from across Utah are invited to indulge their sweet teeth and spark their imaginations for the inaugural Gingerbread Jimmi House Competition at the Park City Library on Monday, Nov. 23.

If you don’t know who Gingerbread Jimmi is, just ask your kids. Chances are, they can spout off a charming rendition of his trademark song.

Now that you have the tune stuck in your head, you can thank local resident John Robert Holbrook, a fashion designer/actor/cologne proprietor/children’s book author.

Holbrook wrote "Gingerbread Jimmi: Magical Storybook," about the adventures of a Park City boy named Blake and his gingerbread boy companion, in 2004. He says he gleaned inspiration from his four kids and the child’s mindset that the world is a magical place. "Kids know there is really magic until the grumpy world coaxes it out of them," he says.

Immersing himself in Gingerbread Jimmi’s world gave Holbrook a new perspective in the cutthroat business of fashion. He delved into his childlike yearnings to create things and went with his gut instincts.

Recommended Stories For You

"My whole message is the more kids follow their hearts, the more invincible, powerful and focused they feel," he says. "Whenever I’ve followed my heart, that’s when I’ve made the right decision."

At the Gingerbread Jimmi House Competition, which Holbrook is co-sponsoring with the Park City Library, he’ll spread his message to kids and parents alike. "The purpose of life is to create," he says. "I want to really cultivate kids’ creativity."

Parents will also revel in the crafty holiday spirit, he adds. "People love the holidays because it brings you back to being happy and having fun. It’s an excuse to do it when we should be doing it all the time."

The competition is open to all kids with Utah addresses. Contestants will be divided into age groups for children (5 to 8 years) and youth (9 to 12 years). Entries must be constructed entirely of edible materials and the main structure should be constructed primarily of gingerbread (or graham crackers). Parents may supervise the activity, but the houses should be created solely by the entrants themselves.

Entry forms are available at the Park City Library circulation desk and creations must be delivered by 6 p.m. on the day of the contest, Nov. 23.

At 6 p.m., the festivities will begin with Holbrook reading "Gingerbread Jimmi" and teaching the holiday song. Judges including Park City Mayor Dana Williams and Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter will critique the creations and present awards starting at 7 p.m.

Prizes in the child category are $75 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place. Youth have the opportunity to win $250 for first place, $150 for second place or $100 for third place.

In addition to cash prizes, winners will receive delicious edible Gingerbread Jimmi trophies made by Cookies by Design.

All entries will be displayed at the library through Jan. 3, 2010.

Holbrook and Youth Services Librarian Heather Reynolds are already devising plans to expand the gingerbread house competition into an annual festival that draws people from around the state to Park City.

"Gingerbread Jimmi: Magical Storybook" is available locally at Dolly’s Bookstore. For more information, visit or