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Posted on Sun, Mar 14, 2010 : 5:55 a.m.

Get your Peeps together for contest, adopted by Ann Arbor District Library

By Jenn McKee


Here in Ann Arbor, we play for Peeps.

We have since 2006, anyway, when The Ann Arbor News held its first annual Peeps contest. Scores of readers submitted photos of the kitschy, animal-shaped marshmallow candies in dioramas and whimsical scenes.

And while the News is gone, the contest continues, with the Ann Arbor District Library taking up the reins, in cooperation with

“Several years ago, while the paper was still doing it, a few young women asked whether the library could get involved with the contest, so that we could display the winners,” said Erin Helmrich, AADL teen services librarian. “So that probably first planted the kernel in my mind. Plus, I’m the person around here who likes to do contests, and this one’s just so goofy and silly and fun.”

Prizes for this year’s Peeps contest will be awarded to the top 3 entrants in each age category: preschool, grades K-2, grades 3-5, grades 6-8, grades 9-12, and adults. (There may also be a family category, provided there is enough interest.) Library staffers will likely play judge for the contest, and the top prizes will be Target gift cards in the amounts of $35, $25 and $15.


"Peeponomic Stimulus," made by Ypsilanti resident Marty Davis-Merritts, won first-place in the young-at-heart category in the 2009 Peeps contest.

File photo

In addition, winning entries will be published online and in the print edition on Sunday, April 4, as well as being displayed in the downtown library’s youth department. Entries will be accepted through March 29, and complete contest rules and submission guidelines are available on the AADL web site.

Although Peeps — produced in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania — were originally only available as yellow chicks at Easter time, they have since branched out to not only other animals (like bunnies), but other holidays as well: pumpkins, black cats, and ghosts for Halloween; reindeer, snowmen, gingerbread men, Christmas trees, and stars for Christmas; and hearts and bears for Valentine’s Day.

All of these Peeps are eligible for a role in the contest; but the candies have become such a celebrated part of the pop culture landscape that the Peeps web site offers information on Peeps history, but also on the candy’s fan club, as well as crafts and recipes that use Peeps.

“It’s very culty,” said Helmrich. “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do the contest, because a big focus for me is pop culture, in terms of what people interested in right now. … I don’t like Peeps very much myself, but I’ll be really interested to see what people do with them.”

Jenn McKee is the entertainment digital journalist for Reach her at or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.