By: Elizabeth Webber Akre
Fall is finally upon us and things are beginning to look and feel like they should here in my beloved “Famously Hot” hometown. Like almost every church in the land, mine has a Fall Festival this time each year. We are extremely lucky to have a new Children’s, Youth & Education Minister who is a bright, energetic, artistic, enthusiastic and über talented young woman. Seeing as how I love to be in the thick of things, I volunteered to help her with this year’s festival. We had a great time planning new attractions and features and I got to know her better in the process. Added bonus.
So, we put our heads together and planned a pretty darn good festival, if I do say so myself. There was one element that we simply had to have. On this point there could be no compromise: cotton candy. Those fine glistening threads of (forbidden) sugar define fall festivals. Remember begging mom and dad for it at the State Fair? A kid’s strategy is this: have a cone now and then on the way out, talk them into a bag to take home. They’d say no at first, but as you whined and pointed at other kids victoriously striding out of the gate with theirs, shed a tear of two, they’d finally acquiesce, as all they wanted was to get in the car and get the hell away from that Fair! It’s a timeless tactic, because it works. I say, “Bravo, kids of America. Bravo!” At the Halloween carnivals at my elementary school, I remember standing there watching somebody’s mom spin out those wispy cones of glistening sugar with absolute awe. And, who can resist putting a wad of cotton candy in your mouth just to see how quickly it dissolves? You see where this is going, don’t you?
That’s right. At long last, my time to become a spun sugar wizard was upon us! I headed over to talk to the fine folks at Cromer’s P-Nuts and got a quick tutorial. It’s insanely affordable to rent a machine and create your own cotton candy, by the way. After conquering some initial feelings of intimidation, I began to get my groove on. My cones were a bit “free-form,” but as the day wore on, I came to realize that free-form is merely my individual cotton candy creative style. I embraced it and spun my wacky looking orange candy clouds-on-a-stick for young and old. Some kids had upwards of 5 of these babies. I wasn’t going to stop them. It’s a festival after all.
Two hours and almost 60 cotton candy cones later, I basked in the glow of Willy Wonka-like pride. I had created all of this lighter-than-air deliciousness enjoyed by all. I don’t know what the Presbyterians across the street had going on, but as they walked from their cars to their church, they were looking pretty envious, I can tell you that! So today, I can add Cotton Candy Chef to my list of fun party tricks. Oh yeah, I’m putting it on my resume too. You never know…