The first annual Gingerbread Showcase has come to the Courtyard Marriott Downtown Tacoma. Throughout the hotel’s lobby are 11 creatively designed and elaborately adorned gingerbread houses inspired by landmarks in Tacoma. For this special holiday showcase, the Courtyard Marriott Tacoma has partnered with Rebuilding Together South Sound. Together, they have invited local bakers and high school students to display their culinary creations in the downtown Tacoma hotel.

The Gingerbread Showcase is made possible in partnership with Rebuilding Together South Sound – a nonprofit organization that aims to support the community by providing repairs and home improvements to the elderly and low-income households. In the past 16 years, Rebuilding Together South Sound has completed more than $7 million in repairs and renovations for those in need.

Gingerbread Showcase Marriott Tacoma
The Murray Morgan Bridge of Tacoma – beautifully crafted by Amanda Deshazo and Joe Lefebure. Photo credit: Shelby Beckwith

As dedicated partners in the community, the staff at the Courtyard Marriott Tacoma are excited to hold such a great holiday event for the community through Rebuilding Together South Sound. So far, the showcase has been a hit with guests and visitors. “We are hoping to continue doing this every year,” says Jessica Odd, sales manager at Courtyard Marriott Tacoma. “We’re hoping to continue it on and always strive to make it bigger and bigger.”

The idea behind bringing the Gingerbread Showcase to the hotel is to not only give local culinary arts students and bakers an opportunity to show their skilled work, but also to gather donations. Visitors can view the Gingerbread Showcase at the Courtyard Marriott Tacoma free of charge, but contributions are graciously accepted at the donation booth adjacent to the gingerbread houses on display. These donations will go toward helping the elderly, people with disabilities and other families in need through the efforts of Rebuilding Together South Sound.

Gingerbread Showcase Marriott Tacoma
The donation station for the Gingerbread Showcase at Courtyard Marriott Tacoma will benefit families in need through the efforts of Rebuilding Together South Sound. Photo credit: Shelby Beckwith

Amy Hoyt, executive director at Rebuilding Together South Sound, explains how we should all “remember how important buildings and houses are in our community.” This ideology is reflected in their everyday practices as well as the architectural muses for the gingerbread houses.

There are several organizations and people behind the creation of the gingerbread houses as well as the promotion and sponsorship of the event. Seven of the eleven gingerbread houses are provided by students from Henry Foss High School in Tacoma. At the school, a competition was held to choose which designs would be featured in the showcase. Four other designs in the showcase are contributed by local bakers and bakeries – some individually created and some collaborations between more than one baker or bakery. Gingerbread creators include: Amanda DeShazo, Susan Harrell, Venita Neal, Taressa Neal, Mary Ann Cruz of The Confection Parlor and Tiffany Martinez of Tiff’s Cakes. The Children’s Museum of Tacoma worked closely with Rebuilding Together South Sound to promote the showcase as well.

Gingerbread Showcase Marriott Tacoma
“Made in Tacoma” was designed by Darren Dickerson and crafted by Venita Neal, Susan Harrell and Taressa Neal. The design features an “I Spy” theme and classic Tacoma landmarks. Photo credit: Shelby Beckwith

Sponsors for the showcase include: Targa Sound Terminal, Barnes Consulting, Coyote Design Architecture + Planning, Patriot Fire Protection, The Design Professionals Council of the MBA of Pierce County, Heritage Distilling and several individuals. Thanks to these generous contributors, this event has been a great success and a treasured contribution to the community.

“The guests really like them,” says Jessica Odd. “We used to just do gingerbread houses for each department for the hotel each year. We love that there are now gingerbread houses from local high school students and bakers. The guests really enjoy coming through and the kids love seeing all the designs. It’s just a really cool thing to be able to do.”

Gingerbread Showcase Marriott Tacoma
This student design from Henry Foss High School depicts the historic Henry Foss Tug Boat. Photo credit: Shelby Beckwith

Jessica hopes that this holiday showcase will encourage visitors to stop downtown Tacoma for a great day on the town. Whether you are visiting Tacoma for shopping, a great meal or business, Courtyard Marriott Tacoma can make a great addition to your day.

“You can come see a lot of things in Tacoma,” explains Jessica. “You can come see some of the landmarks that are in your own backyard. We want people to know how much of a hidden gem we have here. You don’t have to drive all the way to Seattle – it’s all here in Tacoma.”

The Gingerbread Showcase will be on display from November 24 through New Year’s Day. Visit the Courtyard Marriott Tacoma’s website for information on this exciting holiday event or stop in at 1515 Commerce Street, Tacoma, WA 98402 to see these unique Tacoma-themed gingerbread houses for yourself.

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