Reporter Amy Reid helped judge the inaugural Gingerbread Village Contest at Central City Shopping Centre, hosted by the Downtown Surrey BIA. Voting is open until 9 p.m. Saturday outside Winners at the mall.

VIDEO: Gingerbread Village contest on now in Surrey

Vote for your favourite creation at Central City Shopping Centre

The Downtown Surrey BIA has launched a new signature event this Christmas.

The business group invited the public to create gingerbread houses, and each entry will be a part of a ‘Gingerbread Village.’

The cookie houses are on display now to Dec. 16 near Winners at Central City Shopping Centre, with prizes of up to $1,000 for the victors.

The categories include elementary school, high school, post-secondary, community and service groups, charities/non-profits, and an open category to include businesses and individuals within the community.

First place in each category will receive $500 and runners up will win $250.

The display is open to visitors Friday, Dec. 15 and Saturday the 16th during mall hours (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.).

On Friday night at 5 p.m. the winners in each category will be announced, and the festivities will include music and face painters from 4 to 6 p.m.

In addition to awards chosen be a “secret panel of community judges,” there will be a People’s Choice Award.

“Over the course of the weekend, we will ask everyone who visits the display to vote for their favourite entry with a cash donation that will be given to the Surrey Christmas Bureau,” organizers say. “The entry who receives the most donations will be awarded a $500 prize following the end of the display. The People’s Choice winner will be announced on Facebook on Monday, December 18.”

“We were looking for a new and exciting way to engage the community and create a sense of togetherness,” said Kyla Fraser, an intern with the BIA who helped organize the inaugural event. “We have received over 30 entries, which is a wonderful response considering this is our very first year doing this event… It is a great way for people to have fun and donate to a great cause at the same time.”

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