TOWNSEND — Eileen Moran cracks a broad smile when she says it, but she’s hardly joking. “After today, I don’t want to look at another cupcake for the rest of the year,” Moran said during Sunday’s ninth annual Cupcake Festival at the Townsend Public Library. “I’ll bake a cake or anything else, but no more cupcakes.”
One could hardly blame Moran. Her Valentine’s Day-themed display of nearly 80 hand-crafted and decorated cupcakes took “a few days” to create. It was one of two dozen or so displays of (mostly) sweet treats presented at the event, hosted by the Friends of the Townsend Library.
The Cupcake Festival allows attendees to vote on the visual elements of displays, as well as purchase tickets to taste others for a flavor competition. At the end of the event, all the cupcakes are sold, going for $5 for a half-dozen.
All proceeds go to the Friends of the Townsend Library.
“It’s a great event and it’s come a long way,” Moran said. “When we first started doing this, it was a few individual cupcakes. Now, it’s big displays and some friendly rivalries.”
One of Moran’s “rivals” was situated directly next to her. Maureen Hilton’s Godzilla-inspired setup featured a large monster spewing fire at cupcakes designed to look like devastated buildings, complete with cracking and broken windows on each of the treats.
“It took a couple days to build him, including time for drying,” Hilton said. “But we enjoy it and enjoy seeing people react.”
Other visually captivating displays included Sarah Alger’s hamburgers-and-fries cupcakes and a Harry Potter display that spanned several tiers.
While most reactions come due to the visual elements of the cupcake displays, Dave Schuttler has earned a reputation over the past few years of coming up with intriguing savory flavors, including Buffalo chicken and Spam — the latter of which drew “some differing reactions, most of which weren’t great,” he said with a laugh Sunday.
“I’ve done the decorating thing in the past and my daughters have their cupcakes here, so we’ve been baking for the last couple days and it’s fun to try something different,” said Schuttler, whose culinary concoctions this year were a corn-dog cupcake and a chicken-and-waffles cupcake. “Some people think it’s genius; others don’t like it as much. But it’s interesting to see people try these types of things.”
Prizes were awarded in the decorator, master decorator and taste categories, but library employee Meg Genoter says the most important thing is that everyone — from bakers to library visitors — has a good time.
“We have some people who make really big, intricate things, but we want the everyday baker to be able to enter and have fun,” said Genoter, one of the event’s organizers. “We have kids, adults, everyone participating. The effort people put in is amazing.”
Genoter also noted that the winners being picked by popular vote is by design.
“We used to have judges, but this is a bit more of a fair way of deciding what people like the most,” she said. “And people really seem to like it. We see a lot of smiles when we do this.”