Mary Jo Murray said she is thrilled to promote and host two gingerbread houses that were designed and crafted by local artisans and children.
Murray, owner of Evergreen Antiques on Maryland Avenue in Annapolis, is one of roughly 18 area businesses involved in the 2010 Gingerbread Parade of Homes competition sponsored by the Historic Annapolis Foundation, Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc. Annapolis-Eastport Office and the William Paca Society.
"The tour is absolutely delightful," Murray said on Sunday and added that several folks visited her shop for the first time "just to see" the gingerbread houses.
The tour features about six professionally built gingerbread houses and about 30 non-professional ones that will be judged in categories such as "most creative and most unusual," said Carrie Kiewitt, vice president of advancement for the Historic Annapolis Foundation.
Ballots will be available through Friday for folks to vote for their favorite gingerbread house, Kiewitt said.
"We'll pick up the ballots Saturday morning," she said and added that cash prize awards for the contest will be announced later on Saturday.
Nominal fees paid by contest participants and host businesses will help fund the Historic Annapolis Foundation's after-school program that teaches kids about the historical significance of local buildings, Kiewitt said. Proceeds from the event will also benefit Long and Foster programs for children, she said.
Overall, the event has drawn many new visitors to area businesses, she said.
"I've heard nothing but positive comments," said Kiewitt.
Despite showery weather over the weekend, visitors were interested in the gingerbread houses, folks at several host sites said.
"It's been slow because of the rain," said Annebeth's sales associate Anna Goold on Sunday. "But yesterday was good."
A map and ballots for the 2010 Gingerbread Parade of Homes contest are available at the Historic Annapolis Museum, 99 Main Street in downtown Annapolis.
The houses will be on display through Jan. 2. To learn more, visit the Historic Annapolis Foundation's website.