Freezing temperatures Friday night didn’t deter gingerbread house builders from entering their creations into the Harker Heights Parks and Recreation Department’s first-ever gingerbread house contest.

Gingerbread houses were on display at the 10th annual Frost Fest, where brave holiday revelers made their rounds and cast their votes, including Santa Claus.

“I was so impressed with the way the houses turned out,” said Sarah Mylcraine, activities specialist, about the seven entrants. “I could not be happier with how it turned out.”

Mylcraine said the contest will become a staple at Frost Fests to come.

The first place and Santa’s Choice winner, Carly, Brooke and Alaina Ross’s “Remembering the Reason” house took home $100, donated by the Junior Service League of Killeen.

“The difference between first and second place was just one vote,” Mylcraine said. “The voting was intense.”

The inspiration behind the winning house came from a drawing Carly Ross’s 8-year-old daughter drew of a cross.

“We wanted to reinforce the reason for the season,” said Ross who created the house with her two daughters, Brooke and Alaina, 3. “We decided to enter the contest for the fun of it and didn’t even know a prize was involved.”

Ross said they plan to donate their winnings to a local charity.

“My daughter was so excited just to participate and when she found she placed she was just so excited,” said Rebecca Palmisano. Her 9-year-old daughter Isabella’s house tying for third place. “She worked diligently on her entry for an entire week. After she finished her homework she worked on it and used all her leftover Halloween candy to decorate it. This was a great event for the kids.”

Earlier this month Mylcraine hosted a class on how to build a better gingerbread house.

“We wanted to get people in the holiday spirit and get their creative wheels turning so that they have an idea of what they want to submit to the contest,” Mylcraine said. “Both the class and the contest were well received.”

Contact Vanessa Lynch at or 254-501-7567.

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