Congrats to all who entered Julia M. Usher’s Cookie Art Competition™! The call for entries closed about a week ago on October 15 (5 pm CT), and I’m pleased to report that we have more entries (and our entrants are more geographically diverse) than ever before! This just goes to show that cookie decorating is continuing to captivate hearts and souls across the world!

As I’ve said before, 90 percent of any competition is getting a finished entry to the table. I applaud all who pushed themselves past obstacles to get their entries finished and uploaded on time – well done!

Now that your hard work is over, you might be wondering what happens from here, am I right?! Well, now’s the time that the judges’ hard work kicks in. Thanks in advance to my fabulous and talented judging team – Sandie Beltran, Ginny Levack, Stephanie Kappel, and Laura Saporiti! From my advance review of the entries, I can say that you all are super talented, and that my team members clearly have their work cut out for them! Over the next two weeks, they’ll be systematically (and independently) scoring each entry across seven to nine criteria (depending on the category); then they’ll come together to compare notes, discuss any close calls or differences of opinion, and finalize the rankings. It’s a long, deliberate, and thoughtful process based on predetermined judging criteria and procedures that are designed to make evaluations as fair and as objective as possible.

Again, I expect the judging process to take about two weeks, and if all goes as planned, I anticipate the following schedule:

  • October 21 – November 9: Judging (finalists notified circa November 12)
  • November 15: Finalist announcement
  • December 1: Winner announcement
  • December 5 (5 pm CT): Due date for entrants to request written feedback

Please note that all dates are approximate and subject to change.

IMPORTANT: Please also take note of the last date, December 5. Because learning is a key part of competing, we compile scores and write feedback for everyone. However, due to the large number of entries this year, I will only be distributing these materials (via email) upon request. If you want a copy of your final score sheet with written comments from the judges, you must notify me via email (, not via message on Facebook or any other social media platform, no later than December 5, 5 pm central time (CT). Please then allow at least a week (after receipt of your notification) for me to get your feedback to you.

All for now. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments area below so everyone can benefit from your remarks and mine in response. Once again, kudos to all who entered, and best of luck!