PhotosSpreading Holiday Cheer

Grace Place’s Annual Haus of Gingerbread Competition

December 16, 2023

Grace Place, a local non-profit that supports youth and young adults experiencing homelessness, surpassed their fundraising goals at their annual Haus of Gingerbread presented by Francesca’s competition. The event, held on December 16, featured drag performances, a raffle, buffet, and bar. With a 300% increase in fundraising compared to the previous year, the event raised a total of $27,000.

Francesca’s CEO Andrew Clarke spoke about the importance of Grace Place’s work and the company’s delight in being the event’s presenting sponsor. Thirty-four teams competed in designing unique gingerbread houses to support Grace Place. Judging the event were Emilio Coochie, Papi Culo, and Hugh Stone.

Winning teams were crowned in several categories, including “Queer Realness” for the best LGBTQ+ themed house, “Sleigh Queen” for the best holiday themed house, and “Your Fifteen Minutes of Fame” for the best pop culture-themed house. All winners received homemade trophies from the judges. Entries included tributes to Barbie and Oppenheimer, Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour, The Wizard of Oz, Love is Blind, drag shows, and more.

Guests enjoyed a buffet provided by Kindred Kitchen Montrose, complimentary non-alcoholic drinks, and purchased cocktails, beer, and wine donated by local breweries. A 360 photo booth was available for guests to use, and a raffle offered various prizes such as fitness packages, wine experiences, and tickets to sporting and entertainment events. DJ Cheeks provided music throughout the night.

To highlight Grace Place’s mission, special activities were included, such as a wall for guests to write affirmations to their younger selves and merch sales resembling Tracy’s Closet, a boutique-style clothing and hygiene product closet that youth visit as needed. At the end of the event, a check for $60,000 was presented to Grace Place by members of Salem Lutheran Church.

Courtney Sellers, Grace Place’s executive director, expressed gratitude for the support and mentioned that the funds raised would make a significant difference in the lives of the youth they serve. Natalie Ferguson, president of the board of directors, praised the hard work of the volunteers and the success of the event.

Photos by Hailie Durrett

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