Winners chosen for Edible Book Festival

Valentina Vargas, Multicultural Reporter

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Colorful cakes and festive fruits representing popular children’s and young adult books were on display for the ninth annual Edible Book Festival Monday, kicking off the 2019 National Library Week celebration.

This year’s Judges Book Award winner was “Edible Bug Escape,” inspired by Bob Baner’s “Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!”

Angie Hackett, Elisha Nelson and Sara Ferris created the design of the Judges Book Award-winning cake as part of their class assignment.

Hackett said she and her partners first had the idea of bugs escaping a cake, and they found a book that would correlate with it.

She said a challenging thing they encountered was the time-consuming process of making the icings and fondants, which held the cake piece together.

“It was a long process,” Hackett said. “It was an eight-hour process to make all the different icing because it had royal icing, buttercream icing, fondant, and then you have to make all the different colors of fondant, so that took a lot of time.”

Hackett said she and her partners divide the work with someone baking and someone else decorating.

The Popular Vote winner included Beth Heldebrandt, the public relations director of Booth Library, along with Jahann Kolden, the Mattoon High School art teacher.

They won for their edible design about the book Shirley Mozelle’s “Zack’s Alligator.” They both created an alligator out of a pineapple and other fruits, like kiwi, for the feet and vegetables, such as radishes and olives, for the eyes.

Event organizer Ellen Corrigan said 18 entries from Eastern faculty, students and local community members were submitted for the Edible Book Festival.

Corrigan said she has been the one to organize it since last year, and other countries around the world celebrate Edible Book Festivals.

She said the website Books2eat describes the pieces for the Edible Book Festival as edible art that somehow relates to the book.

Kolden said Heldebrandt came up with the book theme, which this year was an alligator.

“Pinterest was a big help,” Kolden said. “We love Pinterest, and we saw an idea on there about making an alligator with pineapple.”

She said it took them two hours to create it and said they bought three pineapples in case they made a mistake, but the most challenging thing was finding a knife sharp enough to cut out the shapes.

Corrigan said this event makes people think a little bit more about the books they read and how to visually present or represent its content.

“I like the creative challenge aspect of it,” Corrigan said. “Seeing how different people come up with different ideas (and) different ways to present things.”

Valentina Vargas can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].