For budding gingerbread artists and enthusiasts alike, Savannah’s Gingerbread Competition and Trail is a creative and fun way to kick off the holidays.


The Savannah Harbor Foundation is launching the cherished twist on the holiday trail experience by accepting entries Thursday through Saturday – drawing gingerbread masterpieces from across the region to the Hostess City.


Savannah’s Gingerbread Competition and Trail is open to the public in downtown Savannah from Nov. 28 through Dec. 25, offering up close views of magical, wintry gingerbread Christmas creations.


The festive displays will be on view at boutiques and hotels throughout downtown for visitors to marvel as they sip and stroll their way through Savannah’s historic district.


This is the 19th annual Savannah Gingerbread Competition and Trail, which began in 2001 as a special way to celebrate the holidays after 9/11, organizers shared.


Since 2001, the gingerbread competition has grown to welcome more than 30,000 people annually to view the amazing creations from a range of artists.


The competition draws about 70 entries each year, varying from youth group teams, to business and professional artists.


Competitors enter to win prize money and recognition, but more so, to participate in the time-honored Christmas experience unique to Savannah, says David Moses of the Savannah Harbor Foundation.


"Our visitors come to see a delightful holiday tradition come to life as the houses are proudly displayed - often with impressive displays," Moses shared.


"It’s a great experience to share with the family, and this year we’ll have a gingerbread trail similar to a scavenger hunt where people can answer questions about the houses along the trail for a chance to win prizes."


This year’s judges for the gingerbread competition include Simi Cake's Sidney Galpern, Jarid's Awesome Cakes Jarid Altmark, and three-time national gingerbread champion Pat Ashley Howard.


Moses says each of the judges are looking forward to reviewing the gingerbread creations on Saturday. Visitors can also vote on their favorites on the gingerbread trail through Dec. 25.


Though this is a year unlike any other since the event began, foundation officials say they are keeping safety and well-being in mind, with safety protocols in place to make the event safe and fun for visitors.


"Like many other things we had to pivot, but our new solution expands the event and embraces physical distancing principles," Moses added.


"Rather than gathering all at one venue, we are spreading these houses all over town. Visitors and locals can see these amazing houses at various locations in the city."


The gingerbread houses will be installed and on display beginning Nov. 28 as downtown kicks off the Christmas season with the 19th annual Boat Parade of Lights along River Street.


Moses says the foundation is grateful for the range of competitors who will be bringing their gingerbread creations to Savannah, and the host houses and businesses that will be placing the holiday art pieces on display beginning Nov. 28.


And for those coming to view the festive works, Moses says just have fun with it and embrace the holiday spirit.


"Whether you are creating a house with a youth group or you’ve been competing at the top of your game, we created this event to provide families and communities something to do together," Moses shared.


"We want visitors to know that Savannah is celebrating the holidays despite 2020’s challenges and doing it in the right way."