Convention Exhibits Array of Sugary Treats

BOSTON--While the Hynes Convention center was as bustling as the New York Stock Exchange floor yesterday afternoon, the crowds gathered there did not seek cool cash, but sticky confections.

On the Opening day of the 47th National Summer Candy Convention representatives of hundreds of candy companies flocked to the exhibition to "showcase their traditional and new, buy and sell," said Russel Cheek, representative for the National Confectioner's Association.

Conventioneers wandered the brightly decorated aisles, investigating the latest industry developments and tasting chocolates, gummy treats, potato chips and jawbreakers. Many quietly stashed the sugary goodies into pockets, purses and briefcases.

More blatant sampling took place in the Sample Room, an alcove near the entrance loaded with bins of treats to sabotage dinner appetites. Convention visitors were allowed to stuff regulation-sized bags with as much candy as possible while a tape-recorded voice wished them a "sweet day."

And although many of the conventioneers on the floor were all business, checking out prices and negotiating deals, there was a decidedly lighthearted feel to this midsummer Halloween.


"The candy business is really fun," said Steven S. Nicole, president of Creative Confection Concepts, a group that markets jaw-

breakers. "It's not something anyone needs."

Nicolet's exhibit featured one of theconvention's most spectacular items, "the actualTerminator endoskeleton used in the future warscene of Terminator 2." This frighteningmannequin was used to market Nicolet's newestproduct. "T2--the Ultimate Jawbreaker." Emblazonedwith red and orange flames, this piece of candyhas a "hot endocore center," Nicolet said.

The T2 is the latest variation on the "motherof all Jawbreakers," Nicolet's standard product.This giant spherical delight takes 30 days to makeand seven days to eat. Nicolet said only onecustomer has ever challenged this data--a teenagegirls who wrote to him claiming she's stayed upall night and completed her jawbreaker. Nicoletsaid he doubts her methods were scientific.

"That seven-day period is based on an hour ortwo a day, not really a straight lick," he said.

At the Willy Wonka booth, a magician dressed asthe mythical chocolate factory owner entertainedpassersby. Wonka representative Richard Gower saidhis company's newest venture is "Radical Red andBoppin' Blue Razzberry Nerds."

"There's a real fad out there with theraspberry flavor and color," he said. "This istaking a Nerd concept and putting raspberry rightin the middle of it."

American representative Dwight Jenkins said hiscompany is also trying to cash in on currenttrends with their new oversized gum, "Mondo."

"We're targeting kids aged 12 to 18," he said."They like large pieces of gum, and we're callingit 'jumbohunk." That's a pretty hot word for youngkids right now."

Around the corner, the New EnglandConfectionary Company of Cambridge offered moretraditional fare. Founded in 1847, Necco is theoldest candy company in the country, according torepresentative Walter J. Marshall. The company'smost popular product is still the original Neccowafer, the chalky flavored discs that inauguratedthe company.

Surveying the bright packages surrounding him,Marshall reminisced about Beantown's past as candymecca.