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Sweet Memories

Host a 4th of July Backyard Bazaar for Kids and Adults Alike!

If you’ve spent any amount of time around children, you know that one of their most charming traits is having a creative and active imagination. They can dream up complex stories from scratch, create imaginary worlds with the help of random objects laying about the house, and find new and inventive ways to have fun with even the most limited of resources. After all, kids don’t have jobs and don’t drive, so they have to make do with what they’ve got! And make do with what we’ve got is exactly what the kids in my neighborhood and I did when we put together our first summer bazaar many years ago.

I’m not sure if I realized it at the time, but I was a very lucky kid. My parents weren’t overly-strict, my neighborhood was safe, and I had plenty of kids to play with in surrounding houses. As such, I had the freedom to float through my summer days, riding my bike here, swimming in a pool there, and just generally enjoying myself in a way that I would love to relive for a few days as an adult! My neighbor friends and I would often gather on my front porch as ours was the biggest, and we would play classic kids games like Jacks and Truth or Dare. But just as all kids do, we would also get bored. And when we got bored, we got creative! In fact, it was this boredom that brought about the first of many backyard bazaars.

I’m not sure if bazaars are the same all over the country, so I’ll clarify as to what bazaars are in the Blair Candy neck of the woods! A bazaar is a local outdoor event, typically held in the summer, that is hosted by a Church or non-profit organization. The event is designed to bring the community together for some fun while raising money for the Church or non-profit. Bazaar highlights include fair-style foods, like snow cones and pierogies, live music from local musicians, craft stands with unique offerings, and importantly…games! These games are typically very cheap, about a quarter per play, with prizes ranging from candy to handcrafted quilts. In many cases, everyone wins at least something small, while one person takes something a bit bigger. That something small is almost always candy – Dum Dums and Tootsie Frooties are popular – so there’s no crying kids (or adults!) walking away empty-handed.

The beauty of bazaars is that they are an awesomely-affordable good time, and the smaller bazaars can be just as fun as the larger ones. With this in mind, the neighborhood kids and I decided to try our hand at creating a bazaar just for us, and it was nearly-free and a whole lot of fun. Want to try it with your kids? There’s no time like the long 4th of July Weekend! The ideas outlined below were those we used in our backyard bazaars years ago, but the rules are only limited by your own imagination. Tip: Ask your kids for their ideas, too. They’ll definitely have good ones! :)

Backyard Bazaar Ideas

Plastic Kiddie Pool – Almost everyone has one of those tiny blue kiddie pools or knows someone who does. But you may not have ever used it for a ring toss! For our backyard bazaar, we filled the pool about 1/3 of the way with water and set some rubber ducks to float. We then found some weighted plastic rings (these were a pool toy for a larger pool) and those became the tossing rings. The goal was to get as many rings as possible around the floating rubber ducks! This game can easily be modified with whatever you’ve got on hand, and is a fun game for adults as well.

Set Up Some Tunes – If your children have instruments of their own, even if they are of the plastic toy variety, book them for your backyard bazaar! They’re sure to love being center stage as they perform whatever songs they like best. And don’t forget to pay them for the gig. Most kids will be willing to work for peanuts, but Bubble Gum Candy Coins make the deal seem more real!

Find Your Prizes – This part is not only fun, but it can help you cut down on some clutter, too. While it’s a good idea to stock up on some penny candy for the little prizes, you can ‘go shopping’ for the other prizes right at home…and we aren’t talking about shopping online! As I mentioned above, as kids we had to work with what we had. So we each went to our respective homes and looked around for trinkets and little whatnots we no longer wanted or needed, such as stuffed animals won in crane machines and puzzles we had already put together a dozen times. Once we had approval from our parents to offer these items up into the prize pool, we set out to play games to win them. These included the Ring Toss mentioned above, as well as simpler games, like Hot Potato. After hours of fun, we all got to walk away with someone else’s unwanted toys that were now our treasures!

Wishing you all a Safe and Happy 4th of July full of fireworks, fun, and perhaps something a bit bazaar!

Consider a Candycation This Summer!

While we don’t typically have candy bars on the brain while the temperature outside climbs into the 90’s, what we do have on the brain is summer fun in the sun! And one of our favorite places to visit on these warm and wonderful days is Hersheypark in Hershey, PA. As fellow Pennsylvanians, we’ve made quite a few trips to this park over the years, and can honestly say it’s one of the best there is. (For the record, Pennsylvania amusement parks Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom and Knoebels Amusement Resort are awesome, too!) If you’ve never been to Hersheypark, we recommend making a two-day trip of it if you can, as there is quite a bit to check out and enjoy.

We usually begin our Hershey adventure at Hershey’s Chocolate World, where you can take the mouth-watering Chocolate Tour Ride. You get a fun and informative peek inside the making of Hershey’s candy, and the ride is filled with the rich aroma of sweet, spectacular chocolate. The ride is slow-moving and appropriate for all ages, making a family-friendly treat everyone is sure to love! After you’ve taken the tour, you can see all the other fun that Chocolate World has to offer, or you can step outside to line up for the rides at Hersheypark, which include Kiddie Rides, Water Rides, and my favorite rides of all – roller coasters! Hersheypark boasts quite an impressive lineup of coasters, with my top 2 residing in the Comet Hollow area of the park – the Sooperdooperlooper and the Comet. The Sidewinder is also a uniquely thrilling coaster, and resides in the Pioneer Frontier section of the park with 3 other coasters.

As fantastic as candy and coasters are, Hershey and Hersheypark offer lots of other exciting things to do, including ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, and tons of shows and Summer Concerts. Need a little relaxation after all the rides? You can always literally slather yourself in chocolate at The Chocolate Spa! The Spa At The Hotel Hershey brings an unforgettable experience, with luxuriously decadent treatments that include a Whipped Cocoa Bath and Chocolate Fondue Wrap. This is definitely the place that “Mmmm” meets “Ahhh!”

We hope that if you give Hershey a visit you’ll enjoy your time there as much as we always do! We also hope that as long as you’re in Pennsylvania, you’ll take a swing by our brick-and-mortar Blair Candy in Altoona, PA – about 2 ½ hrs. from Hersheypark. We’ll have plenty of the Hershey’s summer-friendly favorite – Twizzlers – in stock and ready to enjoy!

Concession Candy Favorites are MVPs at Blair Candy: Part 1 – The Sweet Snacks!

As baseball teams across the country lace up their cleats once again and take to the field for that most American of all sports, BlairCandy.com also gets our starting lineup ready! We offer concession candy all year round, but when spring breaks we make sure our shelves are filled with our star players. Whatever spring sport you’ll be stocking the concession stand for, we’re confident you’ll find your flavorful favorites in our selection! We also offer a great selection of concession stand supplies at great prices, including hot dog containers, French fry paper trays, straws, plastic nacho trays and raffle tickets!

Not sure what to offer at your stand this year? While we offer 100s of candy choices that would make a great fit for concession stands, there are a few that we consider must-haves – the candies that no concession stand would be complete without! And with that, we present 5 of our All Stars…

Big League Chew – This pouch of juicy perfection has been a favorite since it hit the stands, and its fans have never looked back. To chew it is to love it, with its unique form and mouth-watering deliciousness. Plus…it’s just plain fun!

Laffy Taffy and Laffy Taffy Ropes – It should be known by all who were once a kid that taffy at the concession stand is an absolute must! When my friends and I would go to local games to see our friends play, we would let the taffy sit on the metal bleacher for 5-10 minutes in the sun before we opened it up. Softening Laffy Taffy was, as far as we were concerned, precisely what the sun and metal bleachers were made for. When you peeled back that wrapper, it was sweet candy strings of amazingness stuck to the wrapper, and a warm piece of wonderful in the middle. Sure, it was messy. But somehow that never really bothered us. At all.

Ring Pops – Just as tasty as they ever were, there’s something special about Ring Pops that only a few other candies can capture in my memory. The moment I slip the open-backed band onto my pinkie, I’m instantly taken back to a particular moment in my childhood, the moment of my first or at least favorite Ring Pop, sitting and smiling on my front porch on a sunny summer day while the neighbor kids and I dug into our brown paper bags, a fresh haul from the corner candy store. I think it has something to do with Ring Pops being something you taste and wear – they appeal to multiple senses, making them last longer in your mind, tying them for eternity to ‘where you were’ when you had your first one. When you sell them at your concession stand, consider that each Ring Pop you sell just might be the one that kid remembers the most! I’ve eaten hundreds of Ring Pops in my life, but that one on the front porch of my childhood home is the one I remember best, and the one that makes me smile every time and keeps me coming back for more.

Fun Dip – While the kids you’re selling this longtime concession candy favorite to might only know it as Fun Dip, you might remember it the way I do – as Lik-m-aid! And that little white candy stick inside, which just might be the best candy ever and SERIOUSLY NEEDS TO BE SOLD ON ITS OWN (Yes, I’m talking to you Wonka…please!!!), well that white candy stick was the Lick-a-stick! Or, as old school Lik-m-aid Fun Dip came with 3 packs of sugar and two candy sticks, they were Lik-a-stix. Ringing a bell? I hope so! Whether you remember them as Lik-m-aid, or they’ve always just been Fun Dip, this is one of the best concession candy choices of all time, and we don’t think that will be changing any time soon!

Make Learning Fun and Delicious with Jelly Beans!

It’s no secret to most people that many teachers spend quite a bit of their own money on their students throughout the year, every year, and don’t ask to be reimbursed. When I was a little girl just a few years ago (we won’t get into exact numbers here), I was lucky enough to have a teacher who recognized the power that Twizzlers and Tootsie Pops held over our 6-year-old minds, and she would purchase both regularly to share with us. Once each week when our lesson was to go around the classroom and practice reading aloud, she would open her desk drawer and grab a bag of Tootsie Pops or Twizzlers while we all eagerly smiled. Each child would get one piece of licorice or a Tootsie Pop to start with, just to ensure everyone got something sweet regardless of their reading ability. Then, we would all open to the same page in our books, and starting with the first student in the first row, we would read aloud one by one until we made a mistake. We had to read at a normal pace, and when we made that first inevitable mistake, the next child would pick up at the beginning of the sentence that slipped us up. This continued around the room until we were finished with the story. And the lucky kid that read the most lines without making a mistake? That kid got 3 extra Twizzlers or 2 extra Tootsie Pops. Yeah, that kid was very often yours truly!

This post isn’t simply me bragging about my 6-year-old reading prowess, which was something I was naturally good at with or without candy (though the candy didn’t hurt). It’s the realization that many years later I still remember the sound of that bag coming out of the desk drawer like it was yesterday. And I also see things now that I didn’t see then. At the time, I felt sorry for the kids that couldn’t read as well as some of us. I felt sad that they had to struggle and stumble in front of all of us. But looking back, I remember them getting better as time went on. And I remember that everyone was so focused on scoring some candy for themselves that they didn’t notice the other kids fumbling as much as they otherwise might have noticed. In short – my teacher wasn’t only generous, she was also very smart!

I’m sitting at my desk right now eating licorice, which is probably what sparked this memory. But it’s the bowl of jelly beans on the desk that really has my attention. Jelly beans – quite possibly the most affordable candy ever conceived, in addition to being a near universal hit. Who doesn’t love jelly beans? Nobody I know doesn’t! And certainly no kid I know doesn’t.  This got my brain working on some fun and educational jelly bean ideas for teachers to use in the classroom. I’d love to hear if any teachers out there have used jelly beans or any other candy in the classroom as a tasty learning tool!

Jelly Bean Bingo – Bingo is a game that we never grow tired of, whether we’re 5 or 105. To help young children learn their numbers, teachers could print out paper bingo cards, and hand out little cups of jelly beans to use as markers. Once bingo is over, each kid could eat their markers! And the big prize for the winners? Perhaps one of these adorable Jelly Belly LolliBeans Lollipops?

Counting on Candy – Math can be much more fun when the numbers being added, subtracted and multiplied are jelly beans.  The best way to make this activity work for you would depend on your class size. For a smaller class, you could set a pile of jelly beans on a piece of plastic wrap to keep it clean, as well as wearing plastic gloves. Call students to your desk and create math problems for them to solve using the candy. For example, set out 12 jelly beans and ask them how many you’ll have if you take away 5. Push 5 to the side and the first student to answer correctly gets the 5 that were taken away! Continue the lesson adding, subtracting and multiplying until the jelly beans are gone.

Creative Thinking with Candy – This game will not only get your students thinking creatively, but also help you to learn a little more about them. Give each student a small pile of jelly beans, and ask them to write down different things that each color of jelly bean reminds them of. Perhaps the yellow jelly beans remind them of the sun, while the black jelly beans remind them of being afraid of the dark, or their black Labrador puppy. You’ll never know until you ask! And once you know what they like and don’t like, it will be easier to talk with them and relate to their lives, encouraging them to see you as a teacher and a friend. Plus, they get to eat the jelly beans when they’re done. Sounds like a good lesson plan to me. :)

Dear Mini Cadbury Eggs: I Love You. So Much.

I’m not going to beat around the candy bar bush – I love chocolate. This may not be the most profound thing about me, or the most surprising; after all, I work at a candy company, and most people love chocolate, so chances are pretty good that I’m a fan! But profound, surprising or otherwise, it’s definitely a way I identify myself – as a chocolate lover. Of course I have my favorites, including plain Hershey Bars and oh-so-satisfying Snickers Bars. Those are candy bars I can enjoy all year, and I am happy for that, believe me I am! But there is something special about those candies that only stop by for what seems like a Sunday afternoon before they’re off the shelves and barely past the tip of your tongue. Of all these seasonal sweets, of which there are many that I love, I can’t think of any so fabulous as you, Mini Cadbury Eggs.

I love everything about you, Mini Cadbury Eggs. Ev-er-y-thing. I love your glossy purple bag. I love your adorably speckled candy shell.  I love the way that candy shell perfectly cracks, letting your milk chocolate middle shine! But before the crack of the shell, I love to just enjoy that subtle sweetness of your shell – not a flavor really, just a sweetness. I love finding one of you tucked into the corner of the bag when I thought I’d eaten you all. I love always eating a blue you first. Even though you all taste the same, the blue reminds me of robin’s eggs, and I also love robins! (I don’t eat them though. Pinkie swear!)

I just wanted to write you this note, Mini Cadbury Eggs, to let you know the world isn’t absent-mindedly buying you. You are not an impulse purchase. You are not a take-it-or-leave-it candy. You are special, delicious and treasured. You spring onto the scene like Spring herself, bringing memories of so many Easters before in your arrival. For me and many others, you are *the* Easter candy. You have some excellent company for sure – there’s no denying the delight of jelly beans, Reese’s peanut butter eggs, Marshmallow Peeps and much more! But despite how much I love all those candies, you’re this lady’s favorite. Despite how much I love them all, I love you more. ♥

Do You Like Your Technology With a Side of Chocolate and Peanut Butter? You Better Get to CES!

We all know by now that in the world of electronics, smaller almost always equals newer, faster, and in general, better. However, were you to ask me this morning if I thought smaller being better applied to candy as well, I’m not sure I would be as certain! But that was this morning, and this is now. Now, after I’ve read this exciting article – Salivate: State-of-the-Art Candy Makes CES Debuts – on BrightSideOfNews.com.

The taste buds of the Blair Candy Crew are no strangers to the allure of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in their many delectable incarnations, and we couldn’t be more excited that they have been crowned the official candy of the Consumer Electronics Show! It takes us back to a time almost 30 years ago, though it seems impossible that it’s been that long, when another Reese’s candy was making waves not of a technological sort, rather the extra-terrestrial variety – Reese’s Pieces. A little blockbuster by the name of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, starring an adorable alien we all instantly loved, helped moved Reese’s Pieces from a forgotten corner of a candy shelf to the front and center of every shelf and every sweet tooths’ cravings.

We had no fear that Reese’s Pieces would be a fleeting fad, for they were the candy equivalent of an incredibly talented actress who just needed her big break. Once they were made popular with E.T.’s help, the public wouldn’t soon (or hopefully ever!) forget how delicious they are. Will the same hold true for Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups, the sweet, petite stars of CES 2011? Will we be writing a blog post almost 30 years from today about a new product slated to take our taste buds by storm, and referencing the then-classic Reeses’s Minis? Will there even be blogs in 30 years?! Only time will tell. And in the years between now and then, all we can do is eat, evaluate, and repeat. And with the name Reese’s on the package, I have a feeling I’ll be repeating quite often! See ya in 30 years, whether it be by blog or while passing each other in flying cars. ;)

Make a New Year’s Resolution to be Happier!

Thinking back on all the New Year’s resolutions I have made over the years, I can’t think of a single one that wasn’t a good idea. From eating smarter to getting better organized, each resolution, whether it was a success or is still a work in progress, made sense for my life and overall well-being. Some were even what could be considered fun! A fresh workout routine leaves the mind and body feeling great, and a closet cleared of clothes that I hadn’t worn in years was less stressful to tackle in the morning, and reminded me that I had donated those clothes to people that might really need them. But each of these resolutions, no matter how big in effect, was small in focus. Cleaning a closet, eating more vegetables, calling friends more often, and so forth; all rather concrete in their approach. So this year I am trying something new, and I’d love if you tried it with me!  This year my resolution will be the pursuit of happiness, wherever that journey make take me.

If you imagine this journey will include many typical resolutions within it, you’re right. I want to eat healthier, I want to clean out that closet once again, I want to get my oil changes on time every time. But I won’t be thinking the same way about these things – they will not be singular focuses. The focus will be on living a happier, healthier, more enriched and enriching life. So much about the end result of things is found in the focus, and I’m excited to see how differently things feel when that focus is so bold and broad. There are things I can’t change, like the fact that there will always be more work to be done than hours in the day. But I’m not interested in the things I can’t change, but the things I can. What I can change is how I feel about that hard work; what it means to me, my life, and the lives of those around me – including you!

As I sit here at my computer with good music turned up high and thoughts of a new year on my mind, I have some vague ideas about how I’ll achieve greater happiness, but am very aware that if it comes it will come in so many ways I can’t imagine. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to sit by and just wait for it. I am going to actively pursue it, and accept that I won’t always be able to control it or attain it.

I am going to live with greater intention and consciousness. I am going to recycle more. I am going to eat more candy, more slowly, more appreciatively, more often, with more people. I am going to finish uploading my CDs to my computer. I am going to stop buying things simply because they are on sale. I am going to think about why I’m doing something before I do it. I am going to pay closer attention to the emotions and actions of those I care about. I am going to appreciate my dog and my dog’s endless supply of love without judgment. I am going to try to be more like my dog. I am going to consider whether I want to do something because it’s something people do that I feel like I should do too, or because I really want to do it and the effect will be a positive in my life. I am going to read more inspirational quotes, even if they are kind of cheesy, because sometimes they light a little fire that might only burn for a moment, but it burns so bright it’s magnificent. I am going to take everything I know and apply it to learning more about the countless things I don’t know. I am going to work toward being the most complete, authentic ‘me’ I can be, even if that task takes forever. And it will. I’m OK with that. In fact, I like it.

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Herman Cain

We love what we are doing at BlairCandy.com, and we thank you for helping us in another successful year. We wish you nothing but the best in the New Year ahead, and look forward to bringing you not only the sweetest candy around, but service with a smile. Even if you can’t actually see that smile, it’s there. :)

Nostalgic Candy For Halloween Lets You Be A Kid Again!

Having a tough time deciding which Halloween Candy you’ll be giving out to Trick-or-Treaters this year? There are tons of tasty options out there, and it’s actually pretty hard to make a bad decision! But for as much as Halloween is a holiday that is, as they say, ‘for the children’, we encourage you to make it about yourself as well. Leave it to the Johnsons down the street to fill the kids’ treat bags with Fun Size Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Let the Coopers give the princesses, witches and zombies plastic Spider Rings. Let the little ones get their Tootsie Pop fix from the Fredericks. You have candy your inner child can relate to in your treat bags!

My Halloween memories are just as vivid, if not more so, as my memories of childhood Christmases. I remember the costumes I wore, the costumes my friends wore, the Halloween parades at school, trying to fall asleep Halloween night with sugar pumping through my kid veins – I remember it all. I remember collapsing on the living room floor after a long night of trick-or-treating and dumping my candy in front of me with tired, yet wide-eyed appreciation for all the wonderful ways sugar has been imagined into magic. I remember the Sugar Daddys, I remember the Air Heads, I remember the Atomic Fireballs, Wonka Bottle Caps, Razzles and Root Beer Barrels. And every time I enjoy one of these candies, I get to remember again. And remembering is even sweeter than the candy itself.

Treat yourself to some nostalgia this Halloween. Think of the candy you loved hauling home when you were a trick-or-treater, and share a little piece (or two!) of your past. Not only will the neighbor kids be introduced to some of the best candy ever created – candy that has stood the test of time and still has fans coming back for more – but you’ll also get to really enjoy all the candy leftovers if November 1st finds you with a few extra treat bags. We also have a feeling that after all those kids fall asleep and their parents take a peek inside their plastic pumpkins for a sampling of their loot, their adult eyes will light up like they haven’t in years upon spying a Bit O Honey or familiar red box of Boston Baked Beans!

Back to School Sweets: Add a Little Fun Flavor to the Lunchbox!

A turkey sandwich with mayonnaise, salt, and pepper, on white bread. A small bag of barbeque chips. A can of Pepsi. Every day. Without fail. For years. This is what my lunch contained. How I didn’t have a full-blown meltdown in the lunch room, throwing my turkey sandwich dramatically into the air while the world went all slow-motion-y I’ll never know. The lunchbox was not designed for these sorts of Groundhog Day events to occur. It’s practically a present! Every day for 180 days a year, millions of children across the country sit down at a table and slowly open their lunchbox or lunch bag, hoping that something amazing is inside. Fingers cross quietly as their lunch loot for the day is revealed. And while they may each have their own ideas about lunch bliss, there’s a common trait they all share. Each of them is hoping there’s not a soggy turkey sandwich inside.

In my mother’s defense, I never complained about my lunch. I’m not sure it occurred to me I could ask for something different. I accepted the turkey sandwich as my destiny. And to be fair, it did keep me full through the school day, and was fairly nutritious, two important things to consider when packing a lunch for your kids. But it did not make me smile. I did not regard it as a welcome treat after a long morning of advanced math classes and an overly environmentally-conscious science teacher who showered just once a week, rather noticeably mind you! My eyes did not light up the way they might have were there Gummy Butterflies flitting about my lunchbox when I opened it (use your imagination, people!).

As with everything, enjoying candy as part of a balanced diet is about just that – balance. In our recent Candy vs. Cola post we highlighted how much less sugar is in one serving of several popular candies compared to one serving of a handful of soda favorites. We aren’t suggesting that you replace a real slice of pizza with Gummy Pizza for lunch, rather that a small and sweet something waiting in the bottom of the bag can be a bright spot.

Not sure which candies to include? We’ve put together a list of delicious ideas that will also help you to keep it cheap!


  • Nik-L-Nip Wax Bottles – This classic candy comes with the best directions for enjoyment right on the bag – Bite ‘em, Drink ‘em, Chew ‘em! Some schools don’t allow gum on school grounds, so this can be something flavorful for your kids to chew for a few minutes following lunch without risking detention! And with an 18 pack bag, with 5 wax bottles in each pack, costing just $14.40, you can give them 2 Nik-L-Nips a day for just about a quarter.

  • Tootsie Pop Drops – Never had the patience to count the licks to the center? Forego the game altogether with Tootsie Pop Drops! While the name alone is cool enough – reminds me of some dance the kids might’ve been doing in the 50s – the candy is even better. Tiny tootsies going sans stick are tucked inside a pouch ready to be savored. At 80 cents a pack these may not make their way into every lunch, but as a once-or-twice-a-week treat will give your kid something tasty to enjoy while having enough to share with a friend. (By the way…we did have the patience to take the Tootsie Pop Challenge!)

  • Laffy Taffy Ropes – Add an element of mystery to their mid-day meal by choosing the white mystery flavor of Laffy Taffy! I always adored the ‘mystery flavors’ of candy and gum as a kid, and still find them super fun now. The only time I won’t choose the mystery flavor when offered a Dum Dum Pop is when I see a butterscotch pop in the mix. They’re just too tasty! Laffy Taffy Ropes are a quarter apiece, and Dum Dum Pops are less than a nickel apiece! Looks like choosing yum yum Dum Dums is Smart Smart for your wallet. :)

Sour Patch Watermelons – A Love Story

While adults filed into their own categories when I was growing up, whether it was Republican or Democrat, or permed and not permed (it was the 80s, bear with me!), us kids were creating important definitive groups of our own. On a warm summer day, the groups of ‘can play baseball well’ and ‘can’t hit a ball to save his life’ became important. There were also more general groups, to include ‘will always follow through on a “Truth or Dare” dare’, and ‘will always run home crying if they don’t like their dare’. Me? I loved a good dare. And I was pretty good at baseball, too. But throwing a snowball was never a specialty, so I spent much of the winter hiding behind cars and getting hit anyway. It’s OK – I got them back with really good dares! A creative mind never comes so in handy as it does when deciding someone’s dared fate. ;)

But for all the ways we broke into one of 2 groups as it applied to games, it was at the candy store that we saw our great consumer divide into the ‘Sours’ and the ‘Sweets’. I was one of the ‘Sweets’ through and through without fail until the day a certain crescent-shaped treat landed in a glass dish in that enormous case of candy. I still requested my bag be filled with its usual helping of Satellite Wafers and Sixlets, but I saved a few cents for that new candy that would forever seal my fate as one who lives on the border of ‘Sours’ and ‘Sweets’. And that candy was…Sour Patch Watermelons.

I should start by saying I didn’t really expect to like them. But they were candy, and new at the store, and I felt it my duty as a child and regular patron of the candy store to give them a fair shot. I accepted the first one as a fluke. Surely they couldn’t all taste that good?! I had tried Sour Patch Kids more than a few times before this, and they never tasted that good. These appeared to be from the same Sour Patch family, but one was so much better than they other! I reasoned that the Sour Patch parents must be so proud of their wonderful watermelons – fabulous sugar-coated candies that far surpassed their ‘kids’ in amazingness. I stared into my little brown bag and struggled to not eat them all up at once. (‘Sours’ – don’t get mad at me for not thinking Sour Patch Kids are the best thing to ever happen to the candy world! Remember…I’m one of the ‘Sweets’. My affinity for Sour Patch Watermelons goes against my candy nature.)

To this day, I’m one of the ‘Sweets’. When a new sour candy hits the market, I’m usually one of the last to try it. I will always try it, though.  Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t, but it never becomes a candy staple like Sour Patch Watermelons. Even though it’s been 20-ish years since that first fabulous treat crossed my lips and worked its way past my taste buds and into my heart, I still hold onto the hope that it will happen again. I can’t help it – I’m a candy romantic!

Sure, in recent years many new sweet treats have earned themselves heavy rotation in my candy cupboard. But the first and last of the sours was the watermelon. Perhaps it will always be that way, and if so, that’s OK! But I’ll keep tasting and trying so I don’t miss out on what might be the second most important sour discovery of my life.

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