The winner of the fifth annual Inland 360 Peeps Diorama Contest places the credit — or is it blame? — squarely on his wife.Bill Blair, 58, of Clarkston won the 13-and-older category with his diorama, “Stranger Peeps.” The winner of the 12-and-younger category was Poppy Edge, 12, and Hazel Edge, 9, of Pullman, with their entry, “The Peepsons.” The Peeple’s Choice Award goes to “Little Red Peeping Hood,” by Jonson Brotnov, 11, of Clarkston.
It’s not the first year that Blair has noticed the Peeps contest, but it’s the first time his wife encouraged him to participate. Once he’d agreed, she even directed him toward the theme, based on the popular Netflix show, “Stranger Things,” which the family finished watching a couple weeks ago. And that’s about where the assistance ended.
“I got about 30 seconds of help from the family and then just went for it,” Blair said.
Even though Blair is the art teacher at Lincoln Middle School, Peeps were not among the artistic mediums he was familiar with using.
“It was strictly learn-as-you-go,” Blair said.
He found that Sharpies didn’t work well for marking up the sugar-coated marshmallows and that their mouths will stay open if they’re propped upside down as such overnight on a plate. He created the creatures from the program’s the Upside Down by splitting the ears of Peeps bunnies.
He ate a total of two Peeps in the process, which constitutes a year’s quota in his mind. The family also introduced Peeps — and Peeps dioramas — to an exchange student from Bolivia who is staying with them. The student ate only one Peep and his opinion on the dioramas is unknown.
“Why do people do these things? Well, because it’s fun,” Blair said.
Creativity, Blair said, is something that happens when people can relax in their environment. He described creativity as “imagination and access to a lot of junk.” He didn’t specify exactly whether Peeps fell into that category or not.
The 12-and-younger contest winners, Poppy and Hazel Edge, had a distinct advantage in their creative efforts, having been raised by a longtime fan of “The Simpsons.” The two daughters of Collette and Rick Edge of Pullman were talking through ideas in the car and easily settled on a Peeps version of the TV show.
They go through periods where they watch the show regularly, they said, but much of their exposure is thanks to their dad, who will show video clips here and there as life calls one to mind.
Marge and Maggie were the first characters to be created. The yellow-bodied Peeps made for ideal materials, except a different color of Peep had to be used to create Marge’s hair, and later, Selma and Patty’s. A saxophone — similar to the one Poppy plays — was created out of modeling clay.
“It made us keep wanting to do more,” Poppy said.
The girls created 11 characters, not including the family dog (the cat didn’t make it). They used Sharpies to color their characters — they had more success with them than Blair had — and learned that when it comes to gluing Peeps together, hot glue works better than super glue, which made them puff up.
Poppy and Hazel enjoy doing crafts — painting, drawing, using modeling clay and fused beads; this is their first Peeps diorama contest entry.
Honorary Mention: Best Use of Marshmallow Gore
The entries that come in for this contest provide no shortage of laughter and fascination, and it’s always a challenge to select a winner. One of the notable entries this year was “Vincent Van Peep Gogh.” We couldn’t look at this one without laughing. It was a clever idea made all the more humorous with the severed ear on the ground. Kudos to Delay Luther, 11, of Lewiston for making us laugh so hard. Luther is the daughter of Holly Luther of Lewiston.