Ohio's Very Own: The Dum Dum Lollipop
Arthur Spangler earned $450 from his paper route. He did not buy an Ipod with it, or spend it on an Xbox live subscription – not because those things weren’t available in 1916, but because he bought a factory instead. He bought a little factory in a small town in Ohio that made baking powder. Soon, he added sugar. Before long, Arthur was making candy. Today, his company in Bryan, Ohio makes all of the Dum Dum Lollipops in the world, along with all of the candy canes in the United States.
Grab your kids, and your sweet tooth, and head to the Spangler Candy Company where you can take a ride on the Dum Dum Trolley to tour the Candy Museum and factory, where they make ten million Dum Dum Lollipops each day.
Because adding that red stripe to the candy cane only be done by hand, Spangler spends 3-4 months training its employees on the fine art of stretching and pulling the candy log.
Because of the time it takes to make a single candy cane, Spangler makes candy canes all year long, 3 million each day.
Putting that stripe on the candy cane is the one job that college students want to learn each summer; yet few can master the technique. In addition to candy canes and Dum Dums, Spangler makes a half a million Safety Pops, and 32 thousand pounds of the banana flavored Circus Peanuts.
This candy factory is as much a museum tour as it is a candy factory tour.
Vintage baking tins of Spangler products are encased behind glass, along with black and white Spangler photos, and the original vinyl 45 record of The Lollipop Song, recorded in 1959 by Johnny Christmas and the Dynamics.
Our favorite part of the trolley tour took us through the Portland Street addition, where you can hear the plink of the freshly-made Dum Dums hitting the white metal conveyer belt, as they drop from the second floor kitchen to the tables, ready for inspection. Ten thousand Dum Dums come ker-plunking down the chute each minute.
The kitchens are “off-limits” for the tour, for health reasons, but detailed video shows each phase of the candy mixing, stretching and pulling and how this giant blob of hot, syrupy goo becomes a perfect piece of hard candy.
You can tour Spangler Monday-Friday from 10-3. In the winter, tours are only Wednesday-Friday. Factory tour prices are: Adults $5, Children 6-18 years $3, Children 5 & Under Free with paid Adult, Seniors $4. Tours will not be offered on any day that is a holiday for the factory.
After the candy tour, we headed over to Seasons, an all day-breakfast coffseshop bistro in downtown Bryan, on Main Street. The skillet breakfast, with the fried eggs, hashbrowns and toast hit the spot for my ravenous 8-year old. Yet, his eyes were certainly bigger than his stomach.
We took a to-go box home. Seasons accommodated my “picky eater” who ordered a Panini, ungrilled, with ONLY lettuce, onions, provolone and cheddar.
Before you leave Spangler, or Seasons, be sure to ask for directions to Byran’s Imagination Station – an outdoor play ground that incorporates rubber tires, wooden structures, castles and mazes. It’s the ideal spot to stretch your legs before heading back home.