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Grove Park Inn Crowns 2003 Winners in National Gingerbread House Competition

The fourth time was the charm as Mary Beth Enderson of Hampton, VA, has been named the Grand Prize winner of the 2003 National Gingerbread House Competition at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in Asheville. A field of nine judges deliberated for almost three hours to determine the winners in three categories, Adult, Teen 13-17, and Youth 12 and under. (Grand prize winner pictured at right)

Jim and Leslie Rhegness of Toledo, OH, won first-place in the adult division.

Other first-place winners included Sam Marshall of Asheville, NC, in the Teen 13-17 year old age group and Lee Holland of Shelby, NC, in the Youth 12 and under category. A total of 205 contestants participated in the 11th Annual Gingerbread House Competition.

As always, judging the creative creations was difficult, but Enderson�s elaborate and intricate old-time Christmas gem stole the show.

�I didn�t think I�d ever win,� said Enderson, 72, who finally won the Grand Prize in her fourth visit to the National Gingerbread House Competition. �It�s a great thrill, but at my age it didn�t matter if I won or not. It�s just fun to come back here every year.�

As the Grand Prize winner, Enderson wins $1,000, plus a Romance Package from the Inn that includes two nights� accommodations, dinner, daily breakfast, champagne, and flowers.

Enderson finished in third place last year, made the top 10 in 2001, and finished second in the adult category in 2000. (First place adult winner pictured at right)

The annual event has grown from a mere 23 entries in 1993 to a massive nationwide event drawing more than 200 creative displays each of the last three years. The event was staged in the resort�s Grand Ballroom.

The luxury resort and spa�s gingerbread house competition has evolved into a very prestigious event. The Southeast Tourism Society has named the National Gingerbread House Competition as one of the �Top Twenty Events in the Southeast� for the last three years.

The National Gingerbread House Competition also draws major national media. Winning entries have appeared on ABC�s �Good Morning America� for the last four years. This year�s winners are scheduled to appear on the Christmas Eve broadcast of �Good Morning America.� Also, the Food Network will broadcast a special on the competition later this fall. (First place teen winner pictured at right)

What makes this competition so irresistible is the whimsy and ingenuity displayed in the entries. Perhaps the ingenuity is inspired in part by the contest rules � every component of the houses, from the roof to the �landscaping,� must be edible.

The gingerbread houses, a very popular element in The Grove Park Inn�s opulent holiday decorations, will be on display and open to the public from November 12, 2003, through January 5, 2004. The display is located on the seventh floor of the Vanderbilt Atrium.

For those who want to get an early start on next year�s competition, the 12th annual event is set for Monday, November 8, 2004.

For more information, please call The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa at 800-438-5800 or 828-252-2711, or visit their web site, (First place youth winner pictured at right)

A list of all competition winners are listed below:

Adult Division:

Grand Prize    Mary Beth Enderson, Hampton, VA
1st Place     Jim and Leslie Rhegness, Toledo, OH
2nd Place     Valarie Enters, Sanford, FL
3rd Place     Elaine B. Jenkins, Winter Springs, FL
4th Place     Laura Dyer, LaVergne, TN
5th Place     Susan Kelley, Simpsonville, SC

Youth 11-15 Division:

1st Place     Sam Marshall, Asheville, NC
2nd Place     Upper Enrichment Family Consumer Science, Petersburg, NJ
3rd Place     Kristen Glassford, Black Mountain, NC
4th Place     Hannah Kuehnert, Morganton, NC

Youth 10 and Under Division:

1st Place     Lee Holland, Shelby, NC
2nd Place     Thomas and David Monmon, Rosman, NC
3rd Place     Danae MacLeod, Jacksonville, FL
4th Place     Olivia VanPraag, Asheville, NC

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