These gingerbread houses are not just edible, they are educational, too.
More than 51 entries were received in the Essex County Environmental Center’s Eighth Annual Gingerbread Homes and Habitats Contest.
The entries were divided into four categories—Individual Child; Group/Family; Adult Non-Professional and Adult Professional—and winners were recognized Saturday at the center in Roseland.
The goal of the contest is to raise awareness about nature with a holiday theme, according to Essex County Excecutive Joseph N. DiVincenzo.
"This hands-on, family-oriented contest lets people of all ages learn about the environment in a fun way,” DiVincenzo stated in a release. “I am amazed at the creativeness and ingenuity of the entries each winter. Everyone who participated in this contest was a winner."
The entries featured were judged by crafsmanship and design as well as by how well "green" elements were incorporated. Some entries used windmills, bicycles and solar panels on roofs to symbolize the sustainable habitat theme.
This year's winners were:
2012 Visitor’s Choice Award: Gilbert Antero, Ann Cook, Dawson Erwin and Alex Erwin from Fairfield.
Group/Family Category: First Place: The Mazur/Hill Family from Fairfield. Second Place: 4-H Environmental Kids Club members Tracy Voca, Bridget Castano and Gizelle Patierno and their teacher Sue Mazur. Third Place: Avery, Ashlyn, Ella and Patrick McAdams from Montclair.
Individual Child Category: First Place: Aleah Colon-Alfonso from Glen Ridge. Second Place: Galina A. Bello from Lyndhurst. Third Place: Vincent J. Bello, III from Lyndhurst.
Adult Non-Professional Category: First Place: Marion Peterson from Caldwell. Second Place: Essex County West Caldwell Tech Culinary Arts students Destiney Duprey, Melany Llugcha, Marquis Stevens, Pamela Martinez and Steven Suda and their teacher Victoria Atfield. Third Place: Essex County North 13th Street School Culinary Arts students Ciarra Rivera, Diana Quinones, Amethyst Navarro and Inaya Haigs Andrews and their teacher Brett Boon.
Adult Professional Category: First Place: Sunrise Bakery from West Caldwell ShopRite. Second Place: Nanina’s In the Park from Belleville.
The Essex County Environmental Center is located at 621B Eagle Rock Ave. in Roseland.