Annual edible car contest continues

Nearly 60 students participated in IVCC’s annual Edible Car Contest this year, which was held on Wednesday, Feb. 22, in CTC-124.

Every year, participants in the contest race fully edible cars they have designed and built themselves.

The Edible Car Contest has been a tradition at IVCC for the past 18 years.

“We had a grant from the National Science Foundation, and that’s how it all started, because you have to have activities to justify [them] giving you money,” Dorene Data, Engineering Design Instructor at IVCC and event organizer, explained.

“We wanted something that would include things like critical thinking, a little bit of engineering, [and] a little bit of math. So it was a good S.T.E.M. activity.”

On the day of this year’s event, Data was pleasantly surprised by the turnout.

Students and faculty from local junior highs and high schools, as well as from IVCC, took part in the race.

The cars this year used a wide variety of edible components including Oreos, a cucumber, crisped rice, and even a chocolate Easter bunny.

“There was a car that was a squash. . . and it had two cactuses on it,” Data described. “That was one of the neatest cars we’ve seen.

“Then there was a chocolate car that looked like a stagecoach,” she recalled. “That was pretty cool.”

Data also noted how impressed she was with the junior high contestants.

“[It] was kind of neat to see the younger kids put so much effort into it,” said Data. “They really did good. It’s just good to see them, that they’re so excited about designing.”

When the contest first started 18 years ago, the youngest contestants were in high school. Eventually, Putnam County Junior High students entered, followed by Trinity Catholic Academy and John F. Kennedy Middle School students.

To win a category in IVCC’s annual Edible Car Contest, judges look for several aspects.

For the Design category, judges look for entries that look like cars, with two axles, two wheels, and good proportions. The first place winners for this category were Ottawa High School’s Christian Ramirez and Noah Underhill, with the car Chew Chew Train.

Contestants hoping to win the Creativity category must think out of the box, using different colors and textures with a cohesive theme and unique attachments. Winning first in this category was Ariadra Gacna from Streator High School, with the car Gel Sloppy.

A big part of the Edible Car Contest is the ramp race. The first place winner of the Speed category, at 0.61 seconds, was Barry Gilsap, a faculty member of Depue, with the car Big Poppa.

Entries in the Most Nutritious category must look similar to an actual car but be made of nutritious foods. The winner of this category was JFK’s Rylee Newton, with the car Dino Fusion.

For the Sweetest Car category, the entry must be made entirely out of sweets, have special effects with candy or sugar, have more than three sweet components, and be whimsical. The winner here was Trinity Catholic, with the car Grammys.

Data thanks Steve Gibson and Rob Mathews, who helped set up and run the race track, and Rob and Jason Donahue, who designed the new track that will be used next year with help from Steve Guzior.

She also thanks Laura Duberstine and Larry Miller, who were judges, the sophomore CAD class that helped register students and hand out awards, and all who helped with the annual Edible Car Contest.

As for next year’s race, Data has some ideas in mind. “Next year, I’m thinking we’re going to need a bigger room,” she said.

She also added that a bigger order of pizza is called for. Contestants and spectators for next year’s race can expect to see the new race track they’re working on as well.