Jenna Hapner spent a couple of months working on her cake creation for Ivy Tech Community College Northeast’s Edible Book Festival on Monday at the Student Life Center gymnasium.
Hapner was surprised when she won the People’s Choice contest open to the more than 200 people who walked in the door to view what were mostly cakes, themed to a book considered special to more than three dozen people who baked them.
Hapner said she’d always loved "Alice in Wonderland," so she worked off a vibe that included The Mad Hatter and his crazy teapot.
"I’m happy you won," Ivy Tech’s Regional Board of Trustees Chair Robert Dettmer said as he came up to shake Hapner’s hand. "Good job," he added as he balanced a small plate of cake in his other hand.
Hapner was one of 38 contestants – most of them Ivy Tech hospitality administration students who refer to themselves as culinary students. The students joined in the fun to create edible versions of their favorite books at the ninth annual festival sponsored by the college’s library.
Second place went to Fort Wayne business Country Kitchen SweetArt, with book choice, "Little Loon & Papa," and third place to Ivy Tech student Heather Osmun with her rendition of "The Game of Thrones."
The event was one of many scheduled to take place internationally on or around April 1, called Books 2Eat: International Edible Books Festival that highlights libraries and allows them to "partner with the community in that celebration," said Diane Randall, director of the northeast campus’ library.
During the first hour, visitors browsed the display tables while the Ivy Tech House band played. They were also invited to help create a mural with food and paint called food stamping. A celery end looks like a rose when smushed in pink paint, for instance; a half pepper, sort of like a tulip.
Anna Rose DePrey read "Watership Down" as an elementary schoolgirl, a book that inspired her to make "warren" rolls, an Easter roll shaped like a bunny and made with "honey, butter and a little raisin," she said. Perfect with a cup of tea.
There was no hesitation for Catrina Zepke whose middle name happens to be Ariel. "The Little Mermaid" originally written by Hans Christian Andersen made wildly popular by the Disney animated movie was her theme.
"Does she like chocolate?" Zepke asked Randy and Pat Pitzer, from Leo-Cedarville, who brought along their granddaughter, Hadley, 3½.
"Oh, does she ever," Grandpa said while Zepke handed the little girl a piece of cake.
While people sampled the food during the second hour of the festival, Ivy Tech administrators, professors and officials, including Chancellor Jerrilee K. Mosier, read books with food themes.
Cake themes included "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory," "The Lorax," "Nancy Drew to the Rescue," the "Wizard of Oz," "The Snowman" and the rhyme, the "Three Little Kittens."
One outside contestant brought in a curry inspired by "Tarzan," and the Ivy Tech Department of Agriculture cooked up a vegetable and beef stew to go along with "Food for Thought: an Indiana Harvest" by David Hoppe. A cornucopia of fruits and vegetables was on display.
Baker Lori Frank smiled as Anna Hauter from Waterloo took a photo of Frank’s cake based on the popular "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James
"It’s a pretty cool cake," Hauter said, but added "it’s not going to make me read the book and watch the movie."
The cake with handcuffs and a whip had a lot of people commenting on it, both pro and con, Frank said, and it brought on "a lot of red faces."