Twinkies Lighthouse Wins Second Place In Annual Contest At Maritime Aquarium

NORWALK — A Newtown woman’s enormous lighthouse made from Twinkies®, Ho Hos® and other Hostess snack cakes is the $750 second-place winner in the Festival of Lighthouses Contest at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

Donna Kern Ball’s “Twinkie, Twinkie, Little Lighthouse” received the second-most votes from Aquarium visitors during the 12th annual holiday display, which ran from November 16 to January 20 and featured 22 large model lighthouses built by local artists, students and hobbyists. The contest’s winners are chosen by Aquarium visitors, who enjoy the lighthouses in the aquarium galleries and then vote for their favorite. Nearly 10,300 votes were tallied from this season’s display, which once again attracted a collection of widely creative works.

First place this year — which comes with a $1,500 cash prize — was won by woodworker David Bishop of Stamford, who created an intricate creation called “Hard-A-Lee.”

It was the second consecutive win for Mr Bishop, who has a woodworking shop in West Haven. This year his creation featured a towering collection of finely crafted spires.

The lighthouse was somewhat reminiscent of minarets, with 17 finely crafted spires of different sizes and shapes rising into the sky, far above an angry sea. (Four other minarets, down low, dodge the waves.)

Mr Bishop created the spires by gluing together different types of wood and then using a lathe to carve them into the elaborate patterns.

“The first place winner was an outstanding woodworking effort and deserved to win,” Ms Ball said on January 26. “As usual, there was a ton of work in all the entries, and many thanks to the Maritime Aquarium for doing a fantastic job hosting once again.”

This was the third time Ms Ball had entered the contest, and the third time that she has collected prize money. She won the 2011-12 contest, and took sixth place in 2012-13.

Her latest lighthouse was a stacked sugar-shock of Hostess-brand dessert cakes. It had eight levels of Twinkies, standing vertically. The even-numbered levels were rimmed by more of the famous snack cakes cut in half, arranged alternately so some show the creamy filling, some not.

The odd-numbered levels were rimmed by Ho Hos, each turned to show its rolled-up insides. Above all that were three levels of Hostess chocolate cupcakes, and then finally the lighthouse’s light, which was topped by a conical crown covered in even more Twinkies.

A photo of Ms Ball’s lighthouse went viral in November when the Aquarium invited its Facebook friends to guess how many calories were contained in the lighthouse. More than 700 people entered guesses. The correct answer: 97,150 calories.

“Once again, we were able to offer Aquarium visitors a very fun and creative holiday display, all thanks to the thought and effort that our contestants put into their lighthouses,” said Chris Loynd, marketing director. “For that, we are very honored and grateful.”

At a January 23 ceremony at The Maritime Aquarium, four other top prizes were awarded, including third place ($375) for “Lighthouse Inn & Tavern” by Jo Stecker of Norwalk; and fourth place ($300)  for “Le Tour Larche” by Jason Larche of Norwalk.

Fifth place ended in a tie, so these two entrants split the $375 in total prize money meant for fifth and sixth place: “Keeper of Dreams,” a gingerbread lighthouse, by Billy Ensign of Norwalk, and “Shark Way” by Suzanne and Jeff Bosco of Norwalk.

Photos of all the winners can be seen at www.flickr.com/photos/Maritimeaquarium.

Entry forms for the 2014 Festival of Lighthouses Contest will be available on the Aquarium’s website this summer.

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