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Opinion

Using sugary, sweet Peeps for more than just food

Brittney Pfenning­-Wendt

April 6, 2012

Amidst the books at the River Falls public library is a new attraction. Sitting atop the reference books and pamphlets in the center of the library are brightly colored Peeps presented in an array of environments.

Library Director Nancy Miller was inspired by the Peep dioramas in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, whose contests started in 2004.

The fun ways people came up with in displaying Peep’s led her to introduce the idea to the library last year.

“I like to see how creative people get,” said Miller. The library’s second year of holding a Peep diorama contest brought in 22 participants from the town and University.

Everyone is encouraged to participate, with voting separated into three age categories: youth through fifth grade, sixth through 12th grade and adult. Artists are allowed to work together, but the diorama would be placed into the category determined by the oldest participant.

When the contest was introduced the first year there were only two categories, youth and adult, but with the split to differentiate youth, it lifts any discouragement younger kids may have felt when competing with junior and senior high level kids.

Winning dioramas are chosen from each category by three judges. This year’s judges represented a diversified bunch made up of an art teacher, businessman and someone from city hall.

Along with the three winners is a Peep’les choice award. Visitors are able to view the displayed dioramas and vote for their favorite.

In a recent visit to the library, I was amazed by the unique ideas and shocked when I found out my Resident Assistant, Stefanie Thorsen, had submitted a diorama and won first place in the adult category. Titled “Carnival of Peeps,” Thorsen’s display was complete with an egg Ferris wheel holding pleased chick and bunny shaped Peep carnival goers.

The winners of the sixth through 12th grade category took advantage of the team option and created “Minecraft Peepers,” depicting the popular computer game. Peeps were stationed in houses and pens, while one was manning a tank.

A tie resulted in the youth through fifth grade category. Olivia Miller proudly recreated the Falls Theatre with her display of Peeps munching away on little bags of popcorn and candy while viewing a movie.

Tying contestant was Lily Schartau with “Peepsquapch” a take on Sasquatch, played by a bunny shaped Peep dressed up with curly brown hair.

Peep’les choice went to the diorama that captured the Wisconsin spirit in regards to Minnesota. “The Green Bay Peepers vs. The Minnesota Peep’le Eaters” was submitted by Sam Shaw, age seven, and won the approval of library goers. His chick Peep’s were lined up along the center line with football helmets carefully placed on each, while bunny shaped Peep’s refereed the game.

The contest reflected the creativity and good nature of River Falls’ citizens. I can’t wait until next year’s contest.

Brittney Pfenning­-Wendt is a columnist for the Student Voice.