By Erin Shaw Street
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The past few days brought intense competition to the halls of Asheville's historic Grove Park Inn. There, craftspeople from all over the country gathered to compete in the 19th annual "National Gingerbread House Competition."

Our own executive editor Rachel Hardage Barrett was on the scene judging the competition, which culminated in Monday's announcement of the winners. Today, the works of art (and they really are) go on display to the public.

From the rules:

"Except for the base, the entries must be constructed entirely of edible materials. The maximum size of gingerbread houses in the competition cannot exceed two feet wide, two feet long and two feet high."

Judging by Rachel's sneak peek photos, this year's entries blew the roof off the old gingerbread house. In fact, Many aren't even houses at all.

Here is the overall winner (adult category):

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The boot,pictured here, has two floors -- one with a chandelier and one with a ceiling fan!

And more ...

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Here's a few from the teen competition:

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Rest assured, there are some "houses" -- well, buildings -- and they are beautiful!

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But check it out for yourself -- these creations and many more are now on display at the Grove Park Inn (non-hotel guests can visit the exhibit Sundays through Thursdays through January 1).

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