Daily News readers never cease to amaze us. The artistic talent and creativity demonstrated in the Peeps in Paradise contest was impressive.
Entries included Peeps on the beach, playing golf, basking in a spa and parasailing. Peeps taking in some of Southwest Florida’s favorite events like the Great Dock Canoe Race and Spring Training. There was even an entry documenting FGCU’s win over San Diego.
It was difficult for the judges to pick a winner from the 68 entries — but congratulations go to Gerald Ladue of Naples. His “Peeps In Paradise: Simply Enjoying The Easter Holiday With All Their Easter Goodies On The Beach” is our Peeps in Paradise contest winner.
You can check out all the entries we received and listen to finalists talked about their entries now at Naplesnews.com/peeps.
“Peeps In Paradise: Simply Enjoying The Easter Holiday With All Their Easter Goodies On The Beach” by Gerald Ladue, Naples (winner)
It took Ladue three weeks to create all the different elements for his entry. He also says thanks to the Kmart manager who helped end a long hunt for the right shoe box.
“I handmade the ‘sugar’ panoramic egg and the decorated chocolate egg next to it,” Ladue writes. “I enjoyed stuffing each of the individual tiny Easter baskets. My favorite is the one with the yellow cello. ... Where better to spend an Easter holiday than right here — in our own paradise!”
“Para-Peep Sail” by Diana Guest, Fort Myers (finalist)
“First thought was just to literally and figuratively ‘think outside of the box’” Guest writes about how she came up with her entry. “But the more I thought about what paradise down here really means, it was only natural to reminisce about parasailing with my brother. Such a beautiful way to enjoy the coastline and at the same time spend some quality time with my brother. I just can’t think of a better way to describe paradise!”
She spent most of “most of two weekends on it plus evening hours through the work-week” to craft her diorama. According to Guest “ ... the more I got into it, the more fun I was having, and then I just got more serious to keep adding more details, so it was definitely a spiraling effect!”
Special note: In the hotel windows, see Peeps chicks, and Guest’s own family, “peeping” out.
“Peeps Baby Chick on Cam” by Eve Dye, Naples (finalist)
It took Dye about three days to make her diorama, which was inspired by the live eagle camera feed of two bald eagles in North Fort Myers. She writes, “We all loved ‘eagle cam,’ so I thought why not ‘Peeps baby chicks on cam?’ ”
“The Magic of Paradise” by Jennifer Gustason, Naples (finalist)
“I wanted to create a magical Peep Paradise to help remind everyone not to forget why they live here in Southwest Florida which is a real paradise,” Gustason writes of coming up with an idea for her entry, an under-the-sea fantasy.
She estimated that she spend about six hours assembling her diorama, during which some Peeps proved hard to resist. “I started out with three packages of Peeps but discovered that I ate two packages while assembling. Oops!” Gustason writes.
Photo by DAVID ALBERS // Buy this photo
“Up Sweetwater Slough Without a Paddle” by Kit Kitchen-Maran, Naples (finalist)
When asked how she came up with idea for her entry, Kitchen-Maran says “I wanted to show an idea of paradise in Southwest Florida that maybe would be different from the beach but would still feature the outdoors. ... While my mind churned away on a theme, I unwrapped the green bunny Peeps and placing one on its side, noticed how much it resembled an alligator. ... I had a wonderful photo of the Sweetwater Slough from one of our trips on Loop Road. There are usually some gators at the site. So my theme presented itself.”
Kitchen-Maran used skills learned as part of the Basketeers at Emeritus in Bonita Springs, to craft the canoe from a frond of the areca palm and artificial sinew. The small dried orchids came from orchids she grew.
“Do the Buzzard Lope” by Phyllis Chambers, Naples (finalist)
“When we read about this contest we began to talk about. Then we began to laugh about it. I thought Stan’s Buzzard Lope would kind of make a funny diorama,” Chambers, who has lived here since 1979, told us. She chose Stan’s Idle Hour bar and restaurant in Goodland “because, to me, it represents so many of the reasons why I love living in Southwest Florida — the tropical beauty, the quirkiness, the people and the traditions like this one that are carried out year after year.”
“Naples Lipdub ... Peep style!” by Barbara Sheehan of Naples (semi-finalist)
“My inspiration was that I loved the idea of the ‘Lipdub Naples’ video from last fall,” Sheehan writes. “ I especially like the last scene with the people waving the pool noodles and singing ‘Let the Sunshine In” on the beach.”
This was the first diorama Sheehan has ever made. To make the Peeps look like they were singing, she “bought little plastic ‘o’s at the hardware store and painted them different colors of red and pink.”
“Peeps Paddlin’ in Paradise” by Alison Chambers, Naples (semi-finalist)
Chambers calls the Great Dock Canoe Race “one of the most iconic and long-standing (and one of my favorite) events in Naples.” Her entry included the backside of her diorama depicting the favorite post-race party spot, Keewaydin Island.
“Even Peeps Like Being Pampered” by Dodie Assad, Marco Island (semi-finalist)
Assad crafted this project along with her friends Sharon Taylor, Diana Schabel, Ginny Boniface, Judi Beebe, and Nancy Wolsley.
“The idea came easily, because after our spa time together,” Assad writes. “One of us said ‘That was paradise.’ A trip to the Dollar Store and the rest is history.”
“Type ‘Paradise’ Into Your GPS And It Will Take You To Naples” by Peter Olivieri of Naples (semi-finalist)
“As a first time visitor to Naples, I have been constantly using my GPS to get around and see all that Naples has to offer,” Olivieri writes.
“As it took me around and about the city, I was struck by the amazing culture, diversity, entertainment, restaurants, weather, beaches, sunsets and pervasive friendliness that I encountered everywhere that I went. ... When I read your announcement of a contest involving ‘paradise,’ I immediately thought that if I entered the word ‘paradise’ into my oft used GPS, it would certainly take me to somewhere in Naples.”
“A Day at the Beach” by daughter and mom Mackenzie and Sandy Davis, Naples (semi-finalist)
Mackenzie got the idea to enter the Peeps in Paradise contest after hearing about it from a friend, Rylie Cibelli, who also was creating an entry.
She and her mother, Sandy, then went hunting through the house for various items to use such as toothpicks for chairs, stickers and die cuts.
“Mackenzie was the creative mind behind the project and we would giggle about each little Peep she would think up,” Sandy Davis writes. “It was a fun way to spend the weekend with my 12-year-old daughter.”
“Preppy Peeps in Naples Paradise” by Patty Fox, Naples (semi-finalist)
Fox says the Peeps in Paradise contest caught her eye because she thought it would be a fun project to do while her kids and grandkids were visiting from Grosse Pointe, Mich.
“We are from a very preppy place (Grosse Pointe), and my favorite color is pink,” Fox writes. “Our house in Naples is filled with pink and green. So it was a natural for our diorama to be Preppy Peeps in ... Naples Paradise.
“It took all day Sunday to make it. Knowing the deadline was Sunday night, I felt like we were on one of the Food Network challenge shows,” Fox said.