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Local couple finalists in Peeps diorama contest

(April 10, 2015) Lola and Michael Panco were top five finalists in Washington Post magazine’s ninth annual Peeps diorama contest for their depiction of Ocean City.

“I grew up here, was born and raised,” Michael Panco said. “The diorama represents the past, present and future of Ocean City in that my childhood memories, the present businesses shown and the future of solar power are all represented.”

“Peep City: the Sweetest Place on Earth” was the mastermind of creative genius, Lola Panco. She constructed the city out of a foam board with flexible foam sheets to sculpt waves, a boardwalk and beach into her colorful display. Wooden coffee stirrers were used to depict the boards with a Ferris wheel full of Peep pairs overlooking the resort Boardwalk and ocean.

“She took it in a different direction and really put our home on the map,” Michael Panco said. “It is a happy moment in time and hopefully sparks interest in the artists here.”

Ocean City favorites, Jolly Roger Amusements, Candy Kitchen, Sea Quest, Coldwell Banker and her husband’s business, Ultra Solar and Wind Solutions, were given acknowledgment in various areas of the diorama.

The essence of springtime in Ocean City is felt with a miniature Assateague Island pony, a Peep version of “Boardwalk Elvis” or Norman Webb singing among chicks and a marlin swimming in the ocean.

Lola worked for almost two weeks to engineer “Peep City” with Popsicle sticks, Easter eggs and Peeps everywhere, Michael Panco recalled.

Her masterpiece was actually constructed a year prior, but after missing the diorama contest deadline in 2014, Peep City sat in her mother-in-law’s sunroom until this year’s contest.

“It’s the dream all in one, the perfect world. We were trying to represent an Ocean City utopia—you know you want to live in that world,” Michael Panco said.

Peep City was featured in the Washington Post magazine on Sunday, but has already gained some attention from community members.

The Ocean City Art League wants to display the diorama at its headquarters on 94th Street after a month-long stint at National Harbor in Washington D.C.

Candy Kitchen owner found out about being featured in Peep City and asked the duo to make a custom diorama out of candy to be displayed in the store.

The Pancos diorama was up against 419 total entries with the winning one being a rustic landscape with hidden Peeps. The others rounding out the top five were a recreation of Kim Kardashian’s infamous Paper magazine cover, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and Peeps trespassing on the White House.

The contest brings American culture into the mix by revealing events, people or places thought about and forgotten by others this year.

Peep City, the winner and other notable dioramas will be on display for the next month at National Harbor in Washington D.C.

Unlike the other finalists in the competition, the Pancos were first-time contestants and plan to participate next year.

“She always pulls stuff together in amazing form. It was made for the people to love it and we’re happy,” Michael Panco said.

To see Peep City featured in Washington Post magazine visit, www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/lifestyle/peeps-diorama-contest/2015/.

Michael and Lola Panco were top five finalists in

Washington Post magazine’s ninth annual Peeps diorama

contest for their depiction of Ocean City.



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