Gingerbread house contest sparks friendly competition at NDFD


Ndfd Gingerbread House Contest 04 1

The Notre Dame Fire Department crew got together for a friendly competition. Things got heated quickly.

The inaugural gingerbread house competition pitted the shifts and technicians against each other in a winner-takes-all, not-quite-a-bake-off event showcasing each team’s creativity. While one shift was named a winner, all who participated walked away with a new appreciation for the craft of building gingerbread houses.

“It’s not as easy as you think,” Lt. Anne Schnura said.

“Don’t use the already-built houses. Definitely buy one you can build on your own,” Schnura recommended after their experiences with a poorly built, poorly packaged, prebuilt house. Schnura is on B shift, and a first-time gingerbread house builder.

The B shift entered a working snowglobe, fitting a firetruck inside the gingerbread house. “It was a lot of fun — building each individual piece and then figuring out how to get it sealed well enough that it would actually push the snow around. That was the most challenging part. We used different sizes of fans and then we figured it out,” Schnura said.

B shift firefighter Brennen Snedeker had the idea to make the snow globe. Is he a fan of snow globes? “Not exactly. I was trying to think of something outside the box that would stick out from the rest of the typical gingerbread houses. I feel like in a competition, you’ve got to have something that stands out.” His big takeaway from the competition was “learning how air works and how to get air flow through something.”

Entrants had three days to build their houses, and all entries were anonymous. Judges initially had a tie, so a tiebreaker judge was called in to decide the winner. The C shift prevailed, and the first gingerbread house competition was in the books.

“It brought a lot of camaraderie and it built a lot of brotherhood,” Capt. Mike Holdeman, B shift, said. “It was a good, focused, friendly competition.”

Admittedly not the best at losing in stiff competition, Snedeker is still looking forward to next season’s contest. And he has a message for the winning shift: “Be ready.”