Pittsburg State University students and faculty are set to judge the gingerbread houses entered in the Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations fourth annual gingerbread contest.

Pittsburg State University students and faculty are set to judge the gingerbread houses entered in the Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations fourth annual gingerbread contest.

The 14 entrants will be judged in the Overman Student Center throughout the day Wednesday, said Meagan Swafford, assistant director of alumni and constituent relations. The contest is always held during the week of Thanksgiving. It was held in 2008 and 2009, but went on hiatus in 2010 for reasons officials were unsure of. Last year’s contest had four entries.

“It’s just for fun,” Swafford said. “It’s something to do around Christmas time and get alumni and family involved.”

The goal of the contest, Swafford said, is to provide a fun program or contest for anyone in the community to get involved in.

“We had a couple of people who re-enter every year,” Swafford said. “It’s something they look forward to and it’s something we look forward to.”

The entrants will be judged not by criteria, but by the whims of students and faculty. This year’s entries included a Japanese castle and Santa’s residence at 1 Santa Way.

The contestants took hours, sometimes days to finish the fine details of their work. Some entrants build their houses on their own, but for families, the contest provides an opportunity to spend time together and bond.

Rinnah Emmerling and her brother, Josiah, built a massive gingerbread house that was inspired by a castle in Osaka, Japan. Rinnah said they entered the contest last year, and that it gives them both outlets for their creativity.

“Building the gingerbread house gives my brother and me an opportunity to interact with each other and work together as a team,” she said. “We plan on participating in future years because I enjoy the challenge of designing and decorating a gingerbread house that is unique, and my brother enjoys destroying the ginger bread house after the contest.”

Christy Perez, who is a licensed clinical professional counselor at the Bryant Student Health Center, built a house with her husband, Stuart, 9-year-old son, Kole, and 6-year-old daughter, Kaleigh. She said her kids were excited to enter the contest for the first time.

“We went to the candy store and decided what we wanted to use, like candy Lego blocks and candy rocks for the driveway,” Perez said of how they designed the house. “We just went from there.”

Perez said the contest was a good way to spend time with her family.

“My son loves to build, and it was a fun opportunity for us to work on a project for Christmas,” she said, adding that her family plans to enter again next year. “It was fun and the timing was right, being over Thanksgiving break. We definitely want to do it again.”