Every year that passes brings yet another birthday for people to celebrate. At the center of that celebration, normally lays the most important part – the cake.

Eight competitors of the first ever Fort Bragg Army Birthday Cake Competition along with Soldiers, Veterans and members of Fort Bragg and surrounding communities gathered Tuesday at the Fayetteville Veterans Affairs Medical Center auditorium to help celebrate the Army’s 237th birthday.

“We want people to know it’s the Army’s birthday, and that it’s something to celebrate and be proud of,” said Col. Steven J. Smith, the XVIII Airborne Corps Chief of Staff and one of the contest’s judges.

The competition was designed to help celebrate the Army’s 237th birthday on June 14 as well as to thank Soldiers past and present for their service and sacrifice to our country, Smith said.

“This was a great way to combine our Army pride and our love of baking,” said Army spouse Clare Larpenteur.

The baker who managed to represent the Army’s birthday the best and took home first place was Natasha McDonald, an Army spouse and owner of Kakes by McTasha.

“It’s a pretty awesome feeling,” McDonald said about winning. “I wanted to do something that showed that I’m proud of what my husband does, and that he is proud of what he does in the Army.”

Throughout the event, competitors also enjoyed seeing how the other entrants chose to interpret the theme.

“It’s great to see everyone’s own unique creativity because we all had the same instruction to make a cake that represents patriotism and being ‘Army Strong!’” said Brandy Lucas, an Army Spouse and owner of My Hero’s Bakery.

One of the unique creations that caught a lot of peoples’ eye was a three tier different color beret cake by Nubia Davis, an Army Spouse and pastry chef at I-95 Holiday Inn.

“The berets are unique because they help show what unit the Soldier’s come from,” Davis said. “For instance, my husband wears a green beret because he is Special Forces, but Soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division wear maroon berets because they are airborne.”

Another highlight of the event turned out to be the location itself.

“It’s great we had it here at the VA medical center because it gave us Soldiers a chance to connect with our veterans,” said Lt. Col. Angela L. Funaro, the deputy public affairs officer for XVIII Airborne Corps. “This is as much the veteran’s birthday as it is the active-duty Soldiers birthday.”

All in all, the event was full of laughter and delicious cake helping to bring  a community together to celebrate the Army’s 237th birthday.

• 1st Place Natasha McDonald, Kakes by McTasha

• 2nd Place Brandy Lucas, My Hero’s Bakery

• 3rd Place Kimberly Roy.