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Return of the Peeps: Fundraiser back with marshmallow-inspired art

Return of the Peeps: Fundraiser back with marshmallow-inspired art
(DAVE MUNCH/STAFF PHOTO, Carroll County Times)

The Peeps are back.

For the sixth consecutive year, area designers have created sculptures, dioramas and mosaics for the Peep Show, which is open today through April 7 at the Carroll Arts Center in Westminster.

Each entry is assembled with marshmallow Peep candies made by Just Born in Bethlehem, Pa.

More than 10,000 visitors attend the Peep Show each year, Carroll County Arts Council Executive Director Sandy Oxx said. They can vote for their favorite entries. Vote chips are sold for $1 each. Last year, more than 13,000 votes were cast.

With Peep trophies on the line for the winners, the event has become competitive. Even Oxx wasn't sure what some decorators were working on. They kept their plans under wraps.

The secrets are out.

There's a Big Bird made of nothing but Peeps, a Peep Ferris wheel that moves, and a "Dancing With The Peeps" stage among the nearly 200 entries.

Word keeps spreading about the Peep Show. "NBC Nightly News" is filming footage of the Peep Show for a story scheduled to air Saturday night, Oxx said. This is the 60th anniversary of the sugary, marshmallow Peep candies at the center of the event.

Decorator Danielle Gallina, of West Friendship, understands the fuss.

"There's nothing this cool in Howard County," she said. "So we have to come over the border for something different like this."

The Peep-is Wheel

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Created by: Jo, Ben, Leah and Luke Iannuzzi and Danielle Gallina

From: West Friendship

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What it is: It's a bit of an engineering marvel. Not only did this family of loyal Peep Show decorators create a Ferris wheel made of Peeps, the whole contraption actually moves with the push of a button. It took awhile for the family to find a motor that would move the Ferris wheel slow enough so that the Peep riders, attached to boxes by hot glue, did not fall off.

Quotable: "When we find out Peeps are on sale year-round, we go and get them," Gallina said. "You can't find the ghosts and the seasonal ones like the Gingerbreads. So when we see them, we save them up."

Same Peep Marriage

Created by: Joyce Muller

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From: Westminster

What it is: This year, Muller, the Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing at McDaniel College, decided to make a bit of a political statement with her entry. Her Peeps have gathered outside a replica of the United States Supreme Court at a rally for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Quotable: "I think art is a great place to start the conversation so people can find a common ground," Muller said.

Dancing With The Peeps

Created by: Camryn Cruz with help from Christine Cruz and Jeanne Carbaugh

From: Westminster

What it is: Camryn, 6, is one of the youngest decorators at this year's Peep Show. She came up with the idea herself. Her entry has Peeps performing in a "Dancing With The Stars" competition. Camryn is a fan of the ABC reality show. She's previously attended the Peep Show and wanted to make her own entry. With a little help with her mother and a family friend, Camryn put together an entry with three judges and a Peep dancing couple.

Quotable: "[Camryn] visited the Peep Show the past couple of years with her grandmother," Christine said. "This year, when she heard it was being advertised again, she said, 'oh, I would like to do that.' She loves arts and crafts."

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