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November 20, 2002

Candy canes are small wonders for local kids

From: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, CA
Nov. 20, 2002

ONTARIO -- Owner Jerry Rowley of Logan's Candies stretched a large gooey red and white mass into shapes resembling a bowling pin and a whale as twelve wide-eyed girls watched in wonder.

Within the next several minutes, their wonder turned to delight as the mass evolved into several small and large perfectly designed and elegantly shaped candy canes.

"I was fascinated with the making of the candy, how you're able to make different shapes and different designs,' said Maria Kimmel, 8, through an interpreter.

Kimmel was one of 12 students from the Riverside-based California School for the Deaf who visited the store Monday evening. Every year at this time, Logan's Candies, 125 West B Street, hosts groups of children -- usually about 30 to 35 -- to watch employees work their candy cane magic during their evening demonstrations.

Logan's Candies, located in downtown Ontario since 1933, will make between 40,000 and 45,000 candy canes through Dec. 24, Rowley said.

About 3,000 children or more will come to watch them during this season. An estimated 2,000 children in other groups will probably be turned away this year because of insufficient space, he said.

Carolyn Gomez, a dormitory counselor at the California School for the Deaf, said the demonstration was fun and a good learning opportunity.

"It was very visual and very hands-on," she said, through an interpreter. "That's how we learn, through demonstrations.'

Candy canes at Logan's Candies are made fresh and feature a fancier curve than typical packaged varieties. The whole batch, from start to finish, takes an hour and a half to finish but the demonstration takes about 40 minutes.

A 20-pound batch, like the one they made Monday, will make about 400 5 1/2 inch candy canes, he said.

Making candy canes at the store usually involves three to five people in an assembly line.

First, a mixture of sugar, corn syrup and water is boiled at more than 320 degrees. The mixture is cooled and cut into two blobs -- a large one and a small one.

Red food coloring is added to the larger mass, while flavoring, like peppermint, is added to the smaller one. The small mass is pulled on a hook on the wall until it turns white.

A wide red stripe is pulled from the red batch and is stuck to the gooey white candy. Smaller red and white strips are also added before the candy is stretched and twisted to the right thickness to be cut, rolled, hand-bent and packaged.

Logan's Candies started its pre-arranged candy cane demonstrations during the holiday season more than 14 years ago, Rowley said. He believes the store, which makes various kinds of candy canes year-round, is home of the world's largest homemade candy cane, which weighs more than 36 pounds and is a little over 16 feet long.

The store, which makes more than 80 varieties of homemade candy, is expanding and plans to more than double the store's size before this Christmas, allowing more children to watch the demonstrations in the future.

Those interested in children's group demonstrations should make telephone inquiries starting in August to learn how they can qualify to receive a demonstration, Rowley said.

While it is probably too late for children's groups to receive a demonstration this year, the store is inviting families to watch from Dec. 17 through Dec. 20, Rowley said. Demonstrations during "Family Week' are free and will be at 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

"We're already going to be here making them, so it works out perfectly,' Rowley said of the store's demonstrations. "We end up selling a lot more candy canes too.'

For more information, call Logan's Candies at 984-5410.

Copyright © 2002 Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Los Angeles Newspaper Group