Subscribe Now


Discover Portsmouth has just announced the line up of judges for the 26th Annual Gingerbread House Contest that is a feature of Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth, the city-wide, month-long celebration anchored by The Music Hall and Strawbery Banke Museum.






Like her shop G. Willikers, Jill Breneman has been a beloved fixture in Market Square for more than 38 years.  As the matriarch of this family-owned and operated business, Jill has provided both locals and tourists, young and old with the enchantment possible through the lens of a child. 


Karin Scott, owner of Celtic Crossing on Congress Street knows a thing or two about Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth and the Gingerbread House Contest.  Having been the overseer of the Gingerbread House Contest at Discover Portsmouth in past years, she has a keen eye for the effort and art involved in these creations as well as a genuine love of the event. 


Born and raised in Portsmouth, Mayor Jack Blalock has been a champion of this community from the beginning.  Through his adult life he has shown his passion and advocacy for his beloved city through his civic involvement.  And now he augments his resume with title of ‘Gingerbread Judge’!


Joshua Wyatt, Esq. of sponsor Devine Millimet, lives in Portsmouth with his wife Erin and their 18-month old daughter Indie.  Josh is a volunteer with the Seacoast Community School and the NH/VT chapter of the American Red Cross.  He works as a trial attorney at the Devine Millimet law firm’s Portsmouth office.


Janis Reams is Vice President for our sponsor Peoples United Bank, in the commercial lending department, working in the Portsmouth office. She was a former board member of Lamprey Health Care, a nonprofit Health Care provider and current member of the United Way of Greater Seacoast’s Women’s Leadership Council. She resides in Hampton, with her husband Jim.


Entrants – to date

Kait Smith – The Music Hall

Jenn Walichnowski – The Maids

Suzy Gagnon – Portsmouth Scouts

Phoebe James – Wentworth Senior Living

Chloe Richards – Portsmouth Architecture & Design Club

Barbara Ward – Moffatt-Ladd House

Elsa Geskus – Learniverse Educational Media

Julianna Knoettner – Lil’s Café

Michelle Maple

Joanne Nichols

Jamielee Symes

Rachel Koch

Olivia Carter

Melissa Ouellette

Clare Dombrowski

Gia Giordano

Lincoln Soldati

Joann Smith

Brett Starr

Aileen Dugan


Discover Portsmouth celebrates Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth with the kickoff party Friday December 2, 2016 5-8pm when visitors will have the first look at the popular 26th Annual Gingerbread House Contest exhibit running until Friday December 23 in the first floor gallery. Created by local businesses, artists, families and kids, the gingerbread houses will be nestled into a winter wonderland in the first floor gallery surrounded by large format photographs: David J. Murray’s images of Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth and photographs of trains in New Hampshire winters by Andy Dolph. The exhibition can be seen every day through December 23 from 9:30am – 5pm with extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays until 8pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public at Discover Portsmouth, located at 10 Middle Street. We’ll announce our jurors’ selections at the Kickoff Party; the public can continue to vote throughout the month.  On Friday December 16 the People’s Choice Award will be announced. Come see these magical creations and find holiday gifts in the Museum Shop!


According to Lainey McCartney, Curatorial Associate who is overseeing the exhibit, “We are pleased to announce another year for a sweet local tradition. Get your family and friends and co-workers together and craft your own beautiful creation!”


Gingerbread Pirates – Matt Tavares, illustrator

Saturday, December 3, 2016

10am – Book reading and illustration demonstration by Illustrator Matt Tavares in the Gallery.  

10:30am – 11:30am – Book Signing by Matt Tavares in the Museum Shop

10:30am – 12:00pm – Make a Gingerbread House Gift Bag in the Program Space


Gingerbread Mouse – Katy Bratun, author and illustrator

Saturday, December 10, 2016

10:30am – Book reading and Discussion on How to Write a Children’s Book with Author and Illustrator, Katy Bratun in the Gallery

11am – 12pm – Book Signing by Katy Bratun in the Museum Shop

11am – 12pm – Decorate a Paper Gingerbread Man in the Program Space


Daily activities in the gallery

December 2-23, 2016

Scavenger Hunt of the Gingerbread Houses

Color a Gingerbread House