By Deborah Cassell
Executive Editor
Candy Industry
Retail Confectioner

Forget those new thrill rides at Kennywood, Carowinds and Kings Dominion. Nevermind the debut of Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Adults and kids looking for somewhere special to go on family vacation this summer need look no further for fun than Hershey, Pa., site of its latest attraction: Hershey’s Create Your Own Candy Bar.

No, I’m not being facetious.

As an editor who has spent the last 4.5 years touring commercial bakeries and candy, chocolate and snack plants, I can’t see why any consumer of any age wouldn’t want to take advantage of this addition to the ever-popular Hershey’s Chocolate World.

To date, Hershey’s Chocolate World has received more than 75 million visitors. Existing offerings include Hershey’s Chocolate Tasting Adventure, Hershey’s Really Big 3-D Show and Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour. But Hershey’s Create Your Own Candy Bar promises an even cooler experience (in this editor’s opinion). This new, hands-on destination allows visitors to (you guessed it) create their own candy bars, selecting the ingredients and packaging as well as watching them as they’re made, all while wearing authentic factory aprons and, my favorite accessory, hairnets. (Whoo-hoo!)

Again, I’m not being facetious.

Guests at Hershey’s Create Your Own Chocolate Bar get to use equipment that’s similar to that of the company’s actual factories and pull the levers to activate machinery and dispense ingredients into their custom-designed bars, which can contain up to three inclusions; options include graham cracker crumbs, crisped rice, blueberry fruit gels, chocolate cookie bits, vanilla chips and rainbow jimmies.

After the ingredients are added, the candy bars are drenched in pure Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. Participants can even top their bars with Hershey’s Kisses-shaped sprinkles. After the bars cool, they are sealed, packaged and personalized with custom wrappers that the guests design at an interactive kiosk. 

This sounds like my type of vacation. Why get sick to your stomach on corn dogs and funnel cakes at a local amusement park when you can learn how to make chocolate at a real-life factory? The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry can wait. (I’ll get there someday.) Now’s the time for consumers to see how candy is produced, in person, right before their very eyes, and not just on TV. (As much as I love the Food Network, “Unwrapped” just doesn’t do manufacturing as much as justice as a live trip to the production line … or a taste of the product just after it’s been made.)

Hershey’s Create Your Own Candy Bar opened this past Saturday, June 12. The introductory cost of just $14.95 per person includes the 30-minute, factory-like experience plus one custom bar. I dare consumers to find a more affordable, enjoyable (and confectionery) attraction for the whole family.

 See you there!

 For more information, visit