- Make a diorama that uses Peeps.
- Upload a picture of it here. Or mail your picture or video to Richard Chin, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 345 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55101. Entries must arrive by noon, April 1.
- Each entry needs to include the name, age, address and phone number of the creator or creators. If you wish, you can also submit a title for the work, an explanation of the artist's vision, what inspired it, how it was made or how difficult it was to keep the dog from eating it.
The winners will be announced in the Pioneer Press on Easter Sunday, April 12, following our highly subjective judging process. Entries that arrive via the Internet will be available for viewing on the Pioneer Press Web site. Last year, we got about 550 entries.
This year, we'll acknowledge readers' favorites, too -- with our first-ever Peeples Choice awards!
As always, winners will be showered with the traditional Pioneer Press Marshmallow Peeps Diorama Contest awards: a brand new toothbrush, prizes from the Just Born candy company and Pioneer Press swag we have lying around the office.
In the five years we've run this contest, we've gotten a lot of FAQs. Here are some answers that may pull back the curtain a bit on the mysteries of Peeps diorama competition:
What is a diorama? Our dictionary says it's "a miniature scene, wholly or partially three-dimensional, depicting figures in a naturalistic setting." But we'll accept pretty much anything, as long as it involves Peeps and it's three-dimensional work, not a Photoshopped creation.
Some of you, no doubt remembering the shoe box creations you made in grammar school, have asked if there's a size limitation. Nope. It can be as big or as small as you like. Those room-sized, life-sized wildlife scenes at the University of Minnesota's Bell Museum are called dioramas, too, and if you want to make some that big, go for it.
Can I submit more than one entry? There's no limitation on the number of entries per person or group. You can use as many or as few Peeps as you like, and any type of Peeps from any season.
Why isn't there a kids' division? A lot of people think it's unfair that the Pioneer Press Peeps Diorama Contest makes entries from kids compete with entries from grown-ups. But frankly, we don't want to have to judge whether an entry was really made by a kid without help from adults. Also, every year we get entries from kids that compete well with the best of the dioramas created by older folks. If your kid needs some help, why not make it a family project?
What are the judges looking for? This is a tough one. Explaining what makes a winning Peeps diorama is a little like explaining what constitutes pornography. We know it when we see it, but it's hard to define. But here's our best shot: It's all about the image and the candy.
Winning dioramas tend to be the ones that depict a striking, instantly recognizable image. Good photography does make a difference. An entry might struggle to rise to the top if we have to read the description to figure out what's going on. Good entries often make us laugh. But we've also rewarded things that are thoughtful, dramatic, even a bit surreal.
Strong entries often acknowledge the weird challenge of making art from candy animals. It's more than putting a few Peeps in a dollhouse or in a Barbie convertible. The dioramas we've liked somehow make us believe that, yes, a marshmallow chicken with spectacles can look like the face of Theodore Roosevelt at Mt. Rushmore, or hey, if a Peep was a saint being stoned to death, the projectiles would be jelly beans.
More questions? Call 651-228-5560 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.