A fish living in the Damariscotta Police Department has inspired a popular “cupcake cake” in the bakery at Hannaford Supermarket in Damariscotta.
Azul, a blue betta fish, originally belonged to Susan Young, wife of Damariscotta Police Chief Ron Young.
When Susan Young was going out of town for a week in August 2015, she asked the police department’s administrative assistant, Joanna Kenefick, to watch and feed Azul for the week. Kenefick brought Azul’s fishbowl to the police station, where he now lives permanently.
“It’s a shared custody arrangement,” Kenefick said. “I have physical custody, and she has liberal visitation rights.”
Azul’s fishbowl is on Kenefick’s desk, within view of the visitors window. Kenefick said Azul receives compliments on his coloring from the public.
One of those compliments came from Karen Priebe, who cleans the Damariscotta municipal building. Priebe also works at Hannaford Supermarket as a bakery associate, a position she has held for the past five years.
As a bakery associate, Priebe comes up with ideas for cupcake cakes, which are made up of 15 cupcakes. Priebe said the associates can create a cupcake cake in whatever shape they dream up. One of the popular designs is a cupcake cake resembling a lobster. Priebe said she has also had a request for a cake that looks like a trout.
“If we can come up with a way to make it, we try it,” Priebe said.
Priebe said she was inspired to make a cupcake cake resembling Azul the first time she saw him.
“My favorite color is blue, and I just remember thinking he was such a beautiful color,” Priebe said. “I thought he might make a great cake and decided to try it out!”
Kenefick sent a photo of Azul to Priebe, which she used to make a sketch of the cake. Priebe uses Hawaiian blue and teal frostings to replicate Azul’s unique coloring.
Priebe has created “six or seven” of the cupcake cakes resembling the fish. Each Azul cake sells fairly quickly after being placed in the display case, she said.
“They disappear so fast,” Priebe said. “Little kids especially seem to like the blue frosting.”
Priebe said she intends to continue to make the Azul cupcake cakes in the summer and on request.
As for Azul, his sudden fame has not gone to his head.
“He is a very down to earth, humble, modest creature,” Kenefick said.