Made mostly of sugar and covered with more sugar, Peeps marshmallow candies are one of those things people either love or don’t.
Sage Adderley-Knox of Olympia was definitely in the latter camp, until she started participating in the Olympia Timberland Regional Library’s annual Literary Peeps Diorama Contest.
When it comes to the contest, which kicks off Saturday, Peeps are not food but craft supplies.
“Peeps are incredibly cute, but I do not like them at all as far as the taste,” Adderley-Knox said. “They’re actually super fun to work with. They are awesome little tools.”
Adderley-Knox and family have built several dioramas over the first five years of the contest, including one inspired by the Dr. Seuss classic “The Lorax” and another based on Jon Krakauer’s “Into the Wild,” based on the true story of a man who died alone in the Alaskan wilderness.
One year, artist Steven Suski created a diorama based on George Orwell’s “1984.” Kelsey Smith, the librarian who created the contest, described it as “amazingly grim.” She also fondly recalls Ray Maeda’s humorous version of Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which featured a nest, a cuckoo clock and an airplane.
That’s right: This contest is kid-friendly, but adults and adult themes are definitely welcome. Library visitors have the opportunity to vote on the dioramas, and winners will be chosen in several categories: families and groups, children ages 4-7, children 8-11, teens (12-17) and adults. There’s also the punnily named Peeple’s Choice Award for an overall winner.
Puns are a part of the fun and often show up in the titles of dioramas, said Smith, who now works at the Lacey Timberland Regional Library.
She based the contest on The Washington Post’s Peeps diorama contest, adding — as librarians are wont to do — a literary twist. All dioramas for the library contest must be based on scenes from books.
In Olympia, dioramas also need to be confined to a shoebox, though the library doesn’t specify exact dimensions. “Shoeboxes come in different sizes now,” said youth-services librarian Mary Rulewicz, who is in charge of the contest.
Each year, the contest draws about 50 entries, ranging from picture book- and Harry Potter-themed entries by kids to complex offerings created by groups of co-workers from state agencies and by the Washington State University Master Gardeners.
All of the dioramas will be on display for Arts Walk April 28-29.
Contestants can create — or at least launch — their projects with a drop-in workshop set for Tuesday. Supplies will be provided — including plenty of Peeps.
Do some younger contestants want to munch instead of making?
“Well,” Rulewicz said, clearly mulling over the idea of eating a Peep. “Yes. Some kids want to eat the Peeps.”
Then she added a word of warning: “They do last forever. We have some Peeps left over from last year that we’ll be using for the workshop, so I would advise caution.”
Literary Peeps Diorama Contest
What: The sugary candy figures are the stars of literary dioramas in the Olympia Timberland Library’s sixth annual contest.
When: Rules and entry forms will be available beginning Saturday, and entries will be accepted through April 13. Voting happens April 15-27, and dioramas will be on view through May 7.
Where: Olympia Timberland Regional Library, 313 Eight Ave. SE, Olympia.
Workshop: Get started on your diorama at a drop-in workshop from 2-7 p.m. Tuesday at the library. All supplies are provided.
Check it out
The Washington Post contest entries have grown increasingly elaborate. Check out the 2016 winner, which peeps inside Donald Trump’s head, at tinyurl.com/m3a2twd.