Perhaps you think too much is made of the PEEPshow, an annual Easter-time tradition that begins today and runs through April 23 at the Carroll Arts Center. Much ado about marshmallows, right? No offense, but peep down, if that’s your opinion.
This is one of those events that is simply a lot of fun for those who choose to participate in creating the sticky works of art as well as those who come to check out the confectionery contenders to vote for their favorites. Its improbable rise in popularity over the past 12 years gives Carroll County a bit of publicity, brings thousands into close proximity with numerous Westminster businesses to, potentially, have dinner or make a few purchases before or after peering at Peeps, and it has done a lot to fund the arts in our community.
The brainchild of former Carroll County Arts Council director Sandy Oxx, the PEEPshow began to little fanfare in 2008. It caught on quickly. After a few years it was the arts council’s biggest fundraiser and it now raises some $75,000, funding scholarships, free summertime movies, arts grants, camps and classes and other cultural programs the arts council provides throughout the year. In 2014, Just Born, the Pennsylvania-based company that makes Peeps, endorsed the PEEPshow and now sends its colorful candy-clad PEEPSMOBILE, a yellow Volkswagen Beetle with a sculpted Peep roof, to Westminster to help promote the event. Since its inception, the PEEPshow has been featured on national news shows, in national magazines and it has inspired art shows like it across the country. The Arts Council estimates that some 25,000 “Peeple” attend the event each year. This is the first PEEPshow for new Executive Director Judy Morley.
Approximately 160 masterfully manipulated marshmallowy works of art will be on display over the next 12 days, from 10 a.m. each day (except Easter Sunday) through 7 p.m. — and open until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Look for sculptures, mosaics, and dioramas inspired by the Easter treat. It’s free to get in, but the money is raised through spectators voting for their favorites. It costs $1 for one vote chip, $5 for 10 chips, $10 for 25 chips, $25 for 75 chips and for those who really want to play a role in choosing the winner — and donate to the arts — $50 for 200 chips. There is also online voting at www.CarrollCountyArtsCouncil.org for $1 per vote. Also on sale at the Arts Center are concessions, including Peeps popcorn.
Thousands of people on a given day can visit the Arts Center for the PEEPshow, so the arts council advises, when possible, to come during weekdays when school is in session, to avoid a line that can wrap outside of the building and well down Main Street during busy times. We hop the spring weather will be kind to those at the end of the line. We also hope drivers will be mindful of the plentiful pedestrians on their way to the PEEPshow. The arts council suggests to plan on spending 45-90 minutes in the building. Photos are permitted but, for Peeps sake, no touching.
The Arts Center is located at 91 W. Main Street with street parking and several parking lots within walking distance. We encourage those so inclined to check it out. A visit to the PEEPshow and a few votes for your favorites will help fund worthwhile arts programs and attendees will see some Peeposterously good art, too.