PEEPSFEST rings in 2021 virtually
By SARIT LASCHINSKY
Special to The Press
Fans of a certain bird-shaped marshmallow confection closed out 2020 in a sweet way thanks to the 12th annual PEEPSFEST, presented virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
PEEPSFEST, held every year by the candy’s Bethlehem-based company, Just Born Quality Confections, culminated with the live streamed PEEPS Chick Drop at 5:15 p.m. Dec. 31, 2020, at SteelStacks.
Meg Dowd and Courtney Angle, from Just Born, were at SteelStacks along with the PEEPS Chick mascot to count down the celebration.
They thanked viewers for tuning in to the sweet celebration.
“We are so excited you’re here for us, and we’re so thankful that we were able to put on PEEPSFEST this year,” Angle said.
“We were so fortunate to have a great team who was able to pull off a virtual PEEPSFEST this year for 2020,” Dowd added. “We love that we were able to bring PEEPSFEST to you and we hope you enjoyed it.
“Hopefully, you made some yummy treats or made some really great crafts, we just want you to have the most ‘Peeptastic’ time at PEEPSFEST, whether you’re at home or here hopefully in 2021.”
Angle also thanked the community for its support and participation in the end-of-year celebrations.
“Just Born just loves our community so much,” Angle said. “We are located right in Bethlehem. “We love that we can put on this event every year and bring sweetness to people’s lives as well as ending the year in the sweetest way possible.”
After a short countdown and, joined by the PEEPS Chick, Dowd and Angle pressed the button to start the Chick Drop.
The 4-foot-9-inch, 400-pound lighted PEEPS Chick slowly descended onto a platform surrounded by sparklers and fireworks.
In the lead up to the drop, the celebration also included two days of the Virtual PEEPSFEST Daily Show which included fun Peeps facts, arts and crafts activities, recipes, music performances by artist Brady Rymer, science experiments, and animal encounters with Arianna Kohler of the Wildlands Conservancy.
Other activities included an online scavenger hunt, coloring pages and downloadable, greeting cards, and the Lehigh Valley Peeps Diorama Competition, where people could vote on their favorite diorama made using Just Born Quality Confection sweets.
Winners of the diorama competition were announced during the Dec. 31, 2020, daily show stream, with each receiving a Peeps brand candy package.
Dowd and Angle spoke with the winners of the PEEPle’s Choice and Judge’s Choice awards.
The Reck family’s diorama was the PEEPle’s Choice winner and featured an upside-down rabbit Peep which was transformed into Santa Claus getting stuck in a chimney.
“That is so cool, and you definitely expressed your ‘PEEP-sonality,’” Dowd told Jennifer Reck and her daughter, Piper, during the daily show, and commended their artistic craftsmanship.
Winning the Judge’s Choice award for the second year in a row were Cayden and Alexa Lui, fifth graders from Southern Lehigh Intermediate School, for their “Santa’s Peep Shop” diorama which included a fireplace made of Peanut Chews, and a Christmas tree filled with Mike and Ikes and topped by a mini-Peep.
Cayden Lui said the two had brainstormed the idea of incorporating COVID-19 into their piece by putting masks on all the Peeps and including a sign that said all candies must stay “six Mike and Ikes apart.”
“It feels amazing, I’m so happy,” Alexa Lui said about their back-to-back Judge’s Choice wins.
Overall, the diorama winners included:
•Business category: The American Outlaws Bethlehem Chapter Inc., winners, and Aroma Realm, second place.
•Family category: the Reck family, winners, the Gable family, second place, and the Nakamura family, third place.
•Kindergarten-fifth grade category: Cayden and Alexa Lui, winners, Aanya Agrawal, second place, and Noah Saborsky, third place.
•Grades six-eight category: Summer Strom, winner, Alivia Deemer, second place and Leah Wuerstle, third place.
The New Year’s Eve celebration livestream highlighted 10 winners of the Random Act of Sweetness promotion, which was held on social media, who each received a Peeps gift bag.
Winners were Vivian Davis, Manda Figueroa, Kim Ann, Emily Eckley, Stefanie Elizabeth, Stacie Hecht, Cassandra Clemens, Jenn Faulstick Kocsis, Melissa Bigelli and Carly Jessup.
The two Virtual PEEPSFEST Daily Shows, as well as the Chick Drop itself, are available to view online on the SteelStack’s Facebook page at facebook.com/SteelStacks.