Gingerbread House Challenge

If you’re a fan of festive craft beer, delightful desserts turned into architectural masterpieces and a jolly good time for the whole family, ‘yule’ love this event!

The fifth annual Hardywood Gingerbread House Challenge dares local businesses, nonprofits and student groups to form teams and display their holiday spirit and creativity by constructing a gingerbread house based on a central theme.

Thanks to the goodwill of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, this exciting event coincides with the release of their popular Gingerbread Stout (which BeerAdvocate calls “freagin’ Christmas in a bottle.”)

Hosted by BHCyp, the young professionals board of the Better Housing Coalition, event attendees vote on their favorite houses to select the $500 People’s Choice Winner, and an expert judging panel will crown the $500 Runner-Up and $1,000 Grand Prize Winner! 100% of proceeds supported BHC’s mission of changing lives and transforming communities through high-quality affordable housing.

Event Details

Date & Time:Sunday, November 14, 2021
Noon – 5:00 p.m.

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
2410 Ownby Lane, Richmond, VA

Please note: masks will be required for everyone (over the age of 3) entering the event space

2021 Theme:
Virginia is for Lovers


Limited number of VIP Ticket packages available (details further down)

General admission is free! To vote: $5 for 2 votes; $10 for 5 votes 

Remote Vote:

Can’t make it but want to support your favorite team? Click HERE to cast your “Remote Vote”. Remote voting ends at 4:15PM on Sunday, November 14, 2021.

Make a Remote Vote Donation

VIP Tickets On Sale Now!

Limited number, available in advance only. Includes:

  • 5 votes
  • 1 Hardywood drink ticket
  • Exclusive VIP cup koozie
  • Gingerbread cookie from Montana Gold Bread Co.

Each year our VIP ticket packages sell out, so plan to get yours early!

Get your VIP Tickets


Many thanks to our 2021 Sponsors!


Sponsorships are still available!

Beer. Dessert. Cut-throat holiday competition. What more could you ask for???
Sponsors of the event will be highly visible to a diverse and merry crowd as the weekend of the Hardywood Gingerbread Stout release has historically drawn over 2,000 Richmonders. And that doesn’t include the gingerbread contest and celebrity judge panel.

Download the 2021 Sponsorship Package

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Competitors – Register by Oct. 22nd!

If you’re looking for a great team building activity, a creative outlet, or just want to compete for some cold, hard cash, form a Gingerbread House Challenge team! Teams of 2-6 members can sign up between now and October 22 or until all 20 spaces are filled.

We’ve made a few changes to this year’s competition to make things a little easier (and safer) for our teams:

  • Exclusivity in subject matter (no two teams will be allowed to depict the same subject)
  • Simplified rules
  • An expert judges panel
  • A RECENT CHANGE: entries will NOT be auctioned off so teams can count on adding them to their holiday décor
  • Plus lots of new safety measures:
    • smaller field of competitors allowing for more space between entries;
    • staggered delivery times;
    • closed judging taking place from 11-noon;
    • no team members are required to be present with your display during the public event;
    • donate link/QR codes for each team to rack up votes from supporters who can’t attend in person; and,
    • masks will be required for everyone (over the age of 3) entering the event space and plenty of sanitizer available.

Be a part of the action and support a great cause. Submit your entry form for the 2021 competition today!



Below are some resources to help you build your gingerbread creation. *Use at your own risk.*

Gingerbread House Challenge 2020

We had a merry good time! Here’s a recap of our last event:

  • BHC’s first (and hopefully only) virtual Gingerbread House Challenge
  • 10 competitors
  • 122 team donors
  • $36,500+ raised

2020 Virtual Gingerbread House Challenge Winner, Team Sleigh Belles, “I’ll be Home for Christmas”



Balzer & Associates 2019 Team with gingerbread hosue
2019 Grand Prize Winner, Balzer & Associates; “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”











2018 Grand Prize Winner, Architecture Design Office; “Nightmare Before Christmas”

2017 Grand Prize Winner, Gearharts Chocolates; “Main Street Station”

See all the photos from our past competitions on our Flickr page!


Contact Sarah Fernald, Director of Community Engagement.