Lauren Kramer | 11/24/2017 | Insider Blogs, Seasonal Travel, Winter |   

Bellingham Gingerbread Contest Celebrates A Sweet, Festive Winter

There’s nothing like gingerbread houses to set the tone for the holidays and a delicious winter scene, but if you’re not up to making your own consider visiting the 22nd Annual Holiday Port Festival at the Port of Bellingham Cruise Terminal Friday, Dec. 1 through Sunday, Dec. 3. The sweet-smelling entries are full of talent, fun and delight as contestants push their creativity to new levels.

Each year contestants truly bring their A-game and make some of the most iconic, sugary structures. Previous teams have made buildings such as the Eiffel Tower, the Hogwarts Castle, the Mount Baker Theatre and so many more. (One team even made an exact replica of the new Costco building in Bellingham.)

The event is free to the community and attracts 5,000-to-8,000 people over three days each year. Lines to view the gingerbread exhibits can be lengthy at times.  Tiffany DeSimone, event supervisor recommends coming Friday at noon or Sunday at 11 a.m. to avoid heavy wait times.

This year the event also includes more than 40 performances by local dancers, choirs and groups, free coffee and cookies compliments of Haggen. And for the kids, they have offered face painting, photographs with Santa, visits from winter princesses, horse-drawn carriage rides and tractor wagon rides. The full details, with specific days and times are listed here. 

There are typically around 100 entries to this much-loved competition, said DeSimone, and participants range from full-on professional bakers to kids as young as five. The 2017 contest theme is “Northwest Adventure” and entries are required to be fun, creative and most importantly, visibly edible.

There are ten categories for the gingerbread entries and ribbons are awarded to the top three winners in each category. Typically the gingerbread displays are auctioned off in a silent auction, donated to nursing homes, churches, homeless shelters and businesses or taken home after the event.

The amount of creativity that is put into these gingerbread pieces is incredible, some of the structures even move or have lights.

For more information visit

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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