From Taylor Swift to Barbenheimer — Gingerbread Battle Raises Record Funds for Local Org.

Hailie Durrett
From Taylor Swift to Barbenheimer — Gingerbread Battle Raises Record Funds for Local Org.

Adrian Santos, Jonathan Paiz, Alan Prewitt, Sean Malone, Wayne Lopes, Jeff Easley and Josh Richards work on their Taylor Swift themed house

THE ICING WAS flowing as 34 teams gathered at Sharespace near Downtown to build one-of-kind creations during Grace Place’s Haus of Gingerbread presented by Francesca’s.


Galvanized by drag performer Duckie DuJour, guests bopped to beats by DJ Cheeks as they channeled their creativity into designing unique gingerbread houses in hopes of taking home a trophy in one of the categories: “Queer Realness” for the best LGBTQ+ themed house, “Sleigh Queen'' for the best holiday themed house and “Your Fifteen Minutes of Fame'' for the best pop culture-themed house. The evening’s entries included odes to Barbie and Oppenheimer, The Eras Tour, Netflix’s Love is Blind, horror movie M3gan, and a recreation of Houston’s pride parade.

Local personalities Emilio Coochie, Papi Culo and Hugh Stone were the evening’s judges. But, before the winners were announced, guests were brought to their feet as a surprise donation of $60,000 was made by Salem Lutheran Church, bringing the till for the night to $87,000. “This event continues to grow every year and we are blown away by the support of our community, donors, and attendees,” said Courtney Sellers, Grace Place executive director.

Grace Place provides a safe environment for vulnerable youth of all sexualities and genders experiencing homelessness. The organization provides meals, clothing, toiletries, bus passes and computers with Wi-Fi access, plus assistance obtaining identification, housing, job readiness and legal aid.

Sarah Yates, Melissa Bacak and Kenny Bacak

Barbenheimer themed gingerbread house

Andrew Clarke, Francesca's CEO, provides opening remarks

Judges Papi Culo, Emilio Coochie, and Hugh Stone

The Wizard of Oz themed house

Drew Hope serving cocktails, beer, and wine donated by local breweries

Rebecca Schlosser and Phanuel Roxas

Team poses in photo booth

Grace Place staff and volunteers with Salem Lutheran Church members during check presentation

Guests pose in photo booth

Duckie DuJour

The Francescas team works on their house

Onjheney Warren and Zach Mckenzie

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