Gingerbread Building Contest

Can you imagine a library in a park, and a park in a library? If you can imagine it, can you build it – in gingerbread? 

This isn’t your typical gingerbread contest. Instead of a gingerbread house, we want to see your best gingerbread library. And how you decorate around the building is just as important – we want to see your best imaginary park alongside the library. 

The Cedar Rapids Public Library and Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation are working on plans for a real-life new Westside Library and city park. Located near the corner of Wiley Boulevard SW and 20th Avenue SW, the new Westside Library will bring a permanent library with more space and more amenities to our community’s southwest side. At the same time, the Parks department will design a new park next to the library. 

Our dream is to have the library and the park fit together. The library should feel like part of the park, and the park should feel like an extension of the library. 

What does that look like? Designers are still working on the plans for both projects– and we want to see what you can imagine! We want you to dream of the possibilities and build them in gingerbread and candy. 

How to Participate 

The contest runs December 1 through 11. Beginning Dec. 1, gingerbread kits will be available for pickup at the Downtown and Ladd libraries, while supplies last. Kits will be a basic gingerbread house kit. You are encouraged to supply supplementary materials, including extra candy or supplies to enhance your library and park.  

Build your gingerbread creation at home, snap a photo, and enter the contest on the form below by Dec. 11 for a chance to win great prizes! 

Learn more about the Westside Library project here: 

Learn more about the Westside Park project here: 


Contest Details

There is a limit of one entry per person or family/team. Entries must include both a library and a park to be considered. By entering your photo in the contest, you give the Cedar Rapids Public Library permission to share it online and in print. 

Can I use items that aren't in the kit? 

Yes!  We encourage your creativity!  Just let us know on the sign-up form so that it can be judged in the appropriate category: 

  • Grand Prize 
  • Most Creative Library 
  • Most Creative Park 
  • People’s Choice 
  • Best Library and Park with no additional ingredients 
  • 1st and 2nd Prizes: Children; Family/Team/Group; Adult 

How will the winner be chosen? 

Winning gingerbread houses will be chosen from the series of categories listed above. 

A panel of judges, library staff, and the public will choose winners. Public voting will take place online using the entry site below. Share your submission with your friends and family to get as many votes as possible! Voting closes December 18. 

What if I need help entering the contest?

The library makes every effort to ensure our programs can be enjoyed by all.  If you don't have access to a digital camera or computer to enter the contest, or if you have any other concerns about accessibility or need to request specific accommodations, please contact the library at (319) 261-7323.

Official Rules 


gingerbread cookie inside an orange circle


Grand Prize
$100 NewBo City Market
$50 Next Page Books
$50 Craft’d

Most Creative Library
$50 Next Page Books
$50 Craft’d

Most Creative Park
$100 Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Gift Card (can be used for pools, recreational programming, and dog parks)

People’s Choice
$100 NewBo City Market

No Additional Ingredients
$100 Moss Plant Shop

Children’s 1st Place
$100 Sky Zone Trampoline Park

Children’s 2nd Place
$50 Mini Pines Miniature Golf

Team 1st Place
$100 Groundswell Cafe

Team 2nd Place
$50 Sweet Mercantile Soda Fountain & Candy Shop

Adult 1st Place
$100 SOKO Outfitters

Adult 2nd Place
$50 Brewhemia

Grand Prize

A gingerbread house has a candy path in front, a sign that says "CRPL," a pond, and a community garden.

Tom and Priscilla Polehna 

"Welcome to the new branch of the CRPL! Built with energy efficient solar panels on the roof and surrounded by a beautiful park with a pond for skating, balls to play with and benches to sit and read or for enjoying the scenery. Off to the side is a place for a community garden in the spring and for your convenience, a drive through book return box!"

People’s Choice

A gingerbread library has a park made from candy in front.

Brayden Stolba

"Hello! Welcome to the new CRPL (Cedar Rapids Public Library)!  

"As you walk to the library, choose one of two paths around the park.  You will pass the giant snowman the kids have built and all the decorated trees in the snowy park.  As you get closer to the library, fallen snow on the roof and colorful lights await you on the outside, and lots of great books on the shelves inside the CRPL! Merry Christmas! "

Most Creative Library

A gingerbread library is inside a glass dome with a painted Mars backdrop.

Joshua Felling

"Holidays on Mars! Martian research library and rock garden."

Most Creative Park

A gingerbread library says "Westside Library" and has a pond, two smaller buildings, and a zoo with marshmallow animals.

Cheryl Monsef

"My grandson Elliot and I created a library surrounded by a park that includes a koi pond, a small zoo and two snack buildings – one for humans and one for the animals. The playground has vintage-style equipment and plenty of trees and open areas for building snowmen!"

No Additional Ingredients

A gingerbread library has a frosting sign that says "library" and people playing in frosting snow.

Mariah Schechinger

"My gingerbread house has some unique touches like the cute awning in front (in my opinion) and the drop-off box on the side. The park has some cute little additions like the little man throwing the snowballs and the snow fort."

Children – First Place

A group of 10 photos of two girls with their gingerbread library.

Aluna Legate and Miyah Lott

"Welcome to our gingerbread house. We have a Santa on the top of the roof! With candy cane trees. All of our librarians are reading books to the local pups! This project was made with love! We are excited for the new library!"

Children – Second Place

A gingerbread library has people having a snowball fight and a marshmallow snowman.

Max and Eloise Casella

"Gingerbread library after a big snow with a snowball fight going on at the park in front of the library."

Team – First Place

A gingerbread library has a garden made from marshmallows and vegetable scraps.

Andy Donovan

"Last night we made a delicious squash soup with a fruit salad on the side. Scanning the veggie and fruit scraps, my three-year-old daughter Max said that they looked like a 'weird forest.' That's it! So, with these skins and peels, along with some snacking seaweed and marshmallows, we created a beautiful, wild, weird garden for our library. Enjoy!"

Team – Second Place

A gingerbread library has an elaborate park with many features in front.

Lucero Wilcox

"A group of kindergarteners from Cedar Valley Montessori School worked collaboratively to imagine, build and decorate this library and park.  

"Our library includes: a coffee shop, an art area with scissors, a comic book section, tables and chairs, and a door that leads directly from the children's area to the park. 

"Our park includes: a picnic area with seating and umbrellas, many trees, a unisex bathroom, a clothing closet and first aid station (also accessible from the library), a swing, a slide, monkey bars, a sand box, and a 'bucket dump' which pours large amounts of water every 20 minutes."

Adult – First Place

A gingerbread library is lit up with twinkle lights.

Brandon Parsons

"A two-story library that is both comfy and cozy but has any book you need, plus a nice scenic walk and play ground for the whole family."

Adult – Second Place

A gingerbread library has gingerbread people and trees in front.

Vickie Traut

"Holiday fun at the library."