One of the first houses to arrive for the competition, on display at NoMa Warehouse (Photos by Ariel Meriwether/Carolina News & Reporter)

Ever been to a gingerbread house extravaganza?

NoMA Warehouse and Davis Architecture have partnered with the Rapid Shelter of Columbia for a gingerbread exhibition this weekend.  

The Gingerbread House Competition and Exhibition will take place Friday and Saturday at two locations in downtown Columbia.  

This event provides a fun and festive way for the Columbia community to support the Rapid Shelter of Columbia, the city’s homelessness shelter for men and women 18 years or older. Local businesses are creating gingerbread houses and competing for a People’s Choice Award on Dec. 1. A second, overall award will be given at a Dec. 2. cocktail party. 

NoMA Warehouse owner Beth Lawson said she always has been aware of homelessness in Columbia and thought the idea was a good way to bring awareness to a good cause. 

Lawson said her partnership with Davis Architecture was a perfect match. 

“(I) kind of got the idea that it would be fun to partner with the building community in Columbia who were constantly building homes and buildings and things all around,” Lawsons said. “(It’s) a fun holiday event for the community and have it benefit rapid shelter Columbia.”

All gingerbread entries will be on display for public judging Friday at NoMA’s weekly flea market. Attendees will be able to talk with Rapid Shelter founders and bring donations for the residents living there.  

The market will feature food trucks, regular shopping and gingerbread crafts for children. 

“I just want people to stop a little bit and think about our neighbors that are struggling a little bit this holiday season,” Lawson said. “Just take a minute and think and appreciate the people that are helping them.” 

The exhibition will end on Saturday with the Competition Cocktail Party. All entries will be at Davis Architecture, with the announcement of a winner. Tickets cost $50. All proceeds will go to the Rapid Shelter.  

“Every bit of money from participation fees, sponsor money and tickets from the cocktail party – all, 100% – go to Rapid Shelter of Columbia,” she said.  

The NoMA flea begins on Friday at 6 p.m. at 2222 Sumter St. The cocktail party will be Saturday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Davis Architecture.  

Tickets can be purchased here

One house features an elves’ entrance at the back.

NoMA’s entrance features a gingerbread design.

More gingerbread houses