A decorative and delicious display of gingerbread houses will once again line the lobby of The Flanders Hotel in Ocean City this holiday season for the fourth annual Gingerbread House Competition.

The contest is open to all, with two categories, adults and children 12 and younger, and there will be three top winners selected from both categories.

Those interested in submitting a gingerbread house into the competition can either attend The Flanders' Gingerbread House Workshop on Friday, Dec. 7, where they will be given the supplies and space to make it on site, or they can create a gingerbread house at home and drop it off at the hotel through Dec. 30.

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The sooner the gingerbread houses are dropped off to The Flanders, the better, as public voting is on-going through Dec. 30 and will account for a portion of the total votes. The gingerbread houses also will be judged by a panel on judges Sunday, Dec. 30, who will make the final decision, also taking into account the public votes. The contest's judges are Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian, along with members of the Ocean City council and employees at The Flanders to be announced.

Karen Bergman, director of catering at The Flanders, said the judges will be looking for gingerbread houses that are both creative or crafted with care. Some of the past year's gingerbread house submissions that stand out in her mind include an amusement park-themed gingerbread house, an ice skating rink display and an edible replica of The Flanders, she said.

Bergman said this year's contest will award its winners some great prizes. This first-place winner in the adult category will receive a two-night stay in The Flanders' penthouse in the off-season, the second-place winner will receive complimentary Easter brunch or Mother's Day dinner for four in The Flanders' banquet room and the third-place winner will receive breakfast or lunch for four at Emily's Ocean Room in The Flanders. In the children's category, the first-place winner will receive four tickets to see Yo Gabba Gabba! Live in Philadelphia in the spring (exact date TBA), the second-place winner will receive a basket of toys and the third-place winner will receive free rides at Gillian's Wonderland Pier on the Ocean City Boardwalk for a day.

A portion of the proceeds of this year's gingerbread contest will benefit OCNJ CARE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the cleanup and recovery of Ocean City residents affected by Hurricane Sandy. Visitors can stop by anytime through New Year's Day to view and vote on the gingerbread house display located in the lobby of The Flanders.

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If you go

What: The Flanders Hotel Gingerbread House Building Workshop

When: 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7

Where: In the Garden Room of The Flanders Hotel, 11th and the Boardwalk

Cost: $15 and includes all supplies with a portion of the proceeds benefiting OCNJ CARE

To enter: Entry into the Flanders Hotel Gingerbread House Competion is free. Drop off the completed gingerbread houses in the hotel lobby. Donation accepted and prizes awarded.

To Vote: Visit The Flanders Hotel now through December 30 to view and vote for the winning gingerbread houses. Prizes will be awarded to top winners.

For info: Call 609-399-1000, ext. 7888.

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