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Peeps: more than just to eat

The residents of the Minnesota Veterans Home Hastings worked together to plan and create their “Honoring Veterans” diorama. (Star Gazette photo by Jane Lightbourn)1 / 2
Mike Poche, left, and Rickey Jensen hold several of the third place prizes the residents of the Minnesota Veterans Home Hastings received for their “Honoring Veterans” Peeps display. (Star Gazette photo by Jane Lightbourn)2 / 2

The residents at the Minnesota Veterans Home, Hastings, decided recently they could do more with Peeps than just eat them. And they did.

Working together as a team, the residents, with the assistance of recreation assistant Deborah Frankot and social worker Lynda Olson, decided to enter the annual Peeps Diorama contest through the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Their “Honor Veterans” entry earned the Veterans Home a tie for third place and a number of Peeps-related prizes.

Rickey Jensen and Mike Poche were two of the residents who actually got their hands on some of the approximately 500 Peeps used on the diorama, which depicts the American flag, some symbols of the branches of the military and images from this country’s wars.

The collaborative effort involved residents drawing and cutting, double-checking spaces between the Peeps and making sure the sizing was similar in proportions to an actual flag. Others did their part, from creating the frame and backboard in the wood shop to the painters and those who dyed about 300 white Peeps red (for the red stripes often flag). They didn’t need that many, they discovered.

“We had a discussion about how many to dye,” said Jensen, “and decided on 300.”

The white ones did not need any prep work and were set to go.

How to stick them together was discussed and decided by the artists.

“We used Gorilla Glue,” said Jensen. This is a waterproof, very strong adhesive.

The team worked on the “Honor Veterans” diorama for about a week, added the additional pieces (including the Peeps soldiers), took a photo and sent it off to the newspaper. They heard the results last week. The winning entry was a tribute to the late David Bowie.

The prizes arrived by mail earlier this week and included a lunch box, a tote bag, a cup, socks, several Peeps and about 10 toothbrushes.

This was a fun project, both Jensen and Poche said. Jensen had recently finished the model airplane which is part of the display.

“We did it for the fun of it,” Poche said.