The voters have spoken. After a hard-fought battle over the weekend, we have a winner in our Peep-le’s Choice competition. By popular acclaim, the readers’ favorite in the 2015 Peeps diorama contest is “Peepalize it.”
The two finalists in the championship round — one, a satirical take on the regulation of marijuana and Cuban cigars; the other, a fanciful celebration of mythical creatures — were worthy contenders, fighting off challenges from dioramas with themes ranging from the topical (the Disneyland-fueled measles outbreak) to the trivial (the seeming ubiquity of actor Benedict Cumberbatch).
Michael Romanyshyn created “Peepalize It” with his wife Maria Fonseca, father-in-law Rafael Fonseca and sister-in-law Kristell Fonseca. A newcomer to the world of Peeps dioramas, Romanyshyn says he decided to get his “hands dirty” this year after watching his wife’s 2014 entry “Peeping POTUS” make it to the finals. He dove headfirst into the project, visiting eight different stores before finding the elusive orange Peeps that he had been tasked with procuring.
Such obsession runs in the family. According to Romanyshyn, his wife took her runner-up winnings from last year’s contest, made a pilgrimage to the Peeps & Company store in National Harbor, and — yes — bought a Peeps T-shirt with it.
Megan Hustings, who created “Peeping Is Believing” with her friend Rachel Hamilton, says that both she and her old college pal share a long-standing fascination for the kind of natural oddities that used to be on display at Baltimore’s Dime Museum and D.C.’s Palace of Wonders. (The closing of both institutions, she says, left her feeling bereft.)
Their diorama, which features Peeps versions of Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster and other cryptozoological critters, is an homage to those bizarre creatures (which may or may not be hiding among us). But humor isn’t just to be found in the far-fetched, says Hustings. According to her, she and Hamilton used to amuse themselves by writing an “Onion-esque” satirical newsletter about their everyday lives.
Congratulations to all the members of the winning team and the runners-up. The 2015 Peeps Diorama contest winner and semi-finalists will be revealed March 31.