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Alaska Life

A pandemic hit: Anchorage pinata maker expands with coronavirus-shaped pinatas

In this photo provided by Alaska Public Media, Carolina Tolladay Vidal displays custom COVID-19 piñatas in her home in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 14, 2021. After her business ground to almost a halt during the pandemic, she rejuvenated her business by making large, coronavirus shaped piñatas. (Hannah Lies/Alaska Public Media via AP)

When the coronavirus pandemic began last year, Carolina Tolladay Vidal’s pinata business in Anchorage went to pieces — and not in a good way for a pinata maker.

“Many of the projects I had were moved to other dates,” she told Alaska Public Media. “Many were canceled.”

Tolladay Vidal had to find fresh ideas to rejuvenate her business and settled on making large, coronavirus-shaped pinatas.

After Tolladay Vidal posted a photograph of a homemade coronavirus pinata on social media, the orders started piling up, she said.

“I think you really smash them and break them and hit them with meaning,” she said. “Because it has been tough for everybody.”

Rose Consenstein, age 8, said she felt like “beating the heck” out of a coronavirus pinata at her outdoor birthday party.

“I couldn’t see it, since I had a blindfold,” Consenstein said. “But I was just like, ‘I want to get you!’ "

In this photo provided by Alaska Public Media, Carolina Tolladay Vadal is shown making a piñata in her home in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 14, 2021. After her piñata business ground to almost a halt during the pandemic, she rejuvenated her business by making large, coronavirus shaped piñatas. (Hannah Lies/Alaska Public Media via AP)

Tolladay Vidal started her pinata business about four years ago, after one of her daughters requested a pinata shaped like the character “Cloud Guy” from the film “Trolls.”

“I had looked in the stores in town. I looked online, and I didn’t find anything,” Tolladay Vidal said. “And I thought, ‘Well, you know, it shouldn’t be so hard to make up a pinata.’ "

Tolladay Vidal had grown up in Mexico, spending years creating pinatas with her family.

“I have a memory of my grandma setting up all the grandchildren and helping her make a couple star pinatas with the seven points,” she said.

Rose Consenstein’s mom, Kate Consenstein, said the coronavirus pinatas were the perfect addition to her daughter’s outdoor, socially distanced birthday party.

“Coronavirus is the perfect villain for children,” Consenstein said. “They can really just simply understand that that is the thing that we want to defeat. There was so much cheering when it exploded.”

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