The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 2 of 8: Sweets for Your Sweet

candy jars!

With apologies to our readers who can’t overdose on sugar.

Pretend we open here with an overture medley of “The Candy Man”, “I Want Candy”, “Pure Imagination”, “Sugar, Sugar”, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Lollipop” by the Chordettes, “Good Ship Lollipop”, and the old Hershey’s Kisses bell-jingling rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Extra credit if you also remember that time Iggy Pop sang a duet called “Candy” with Kate Pierson from the B-52s. Extra demerits if you think it’s funny to say Candyman’s name three times. IT’S NOT FUNNY, YOU GUYS.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In 2019 my wife Anne and I attended our very first Dragon Con in downtown Atlanta, even went so far as to make it the centerpiece of our annual road trip. We were so blown away that we executed an encore presentation in 2021, which was a similarly amazing experience even with strongly enforced pandemic precautions in place. It likely won’t be our last time in town.

We regret we’ll be opting out of D*C 2022 for a variety of reasons despite numerous temptations, but we’re trying to content ourselves with sharing the previously untold tales of our two-day drive down to Georgia and the sights we caught along the way. It’s perfectly okay to make a prequel nobody asked for…

Not far away from Jeffersonville’s Vintage Fire Museum we stopped for snacks and history at Schimpff’s Confectionery. Eponymous founder Gus Schimpff, who came from a family of Bavarian immigrants, opened the shop in 1891 after extensive experience at nearby candy factories and concerns. His brother Charles had previously opened a similar shop in 1871, also in Jeffersonville, but had closed its doors a bit before Gus ran with the idea. The Schimpff family has been a major provider of candies, fudge, and various other sugar-based wonders ever since at the exact same location. In 2001 they expanded to the storefront next door and added a candy-making demo area as well as a candy museum.

Schimpff's sign!

Remember in days of yore when every small business stuck a Coke logo in their sign?

window display!

The ghosts of candy chefs welcome you and remind you ’twas only 59 days till Halloween.

Halloween decor!

More holiday spirit inside.

Easter decor!

The museum half of their double storefront also salutes Easter, one of the other great snack-tastic holidays.

Jelly Belly and friends!

Remember the time our family toured the Jelly Belly factory in Wisconsin back in 2006? HA. No, you don’t, you LIAR.

board game candy!

Board game candy: the craze that apparently never happened in our lifetime.

World's Largest Gummi Bear!

Another addition to our roadside collection of World’s Largest sights.

lollipop holders!

Still not sure what good candy can do for your life? Just imagine the testimonies of these lollipop acupuncture patients.

We were happy to see modest exhibits and buy pounds of fudge, not necessarily in that order. As an unexpected bonus, we’d arrived at the right moment for a live demonstration: time to make the candies. Our hosts and chefs were the current owners, Warren Schimpff (Gus’ great-grandson) and his wife Jill, who took us through the steps of how lemon drops get made. They didn’t name all the ingredients, and we didn’t take notes, and you don’t need to be stealing their methods anyway, so the following is a very loose summary of where lemon drops come from. It does not involve a lemon stork.

pouring syrup!

Pour magical candy syrup into cauldron.

pouring lemon drop mix!

Pour the lemon drop mix onto this device, the Collum Candy Cooler, which brings the temperature way down.

lemon drop sheet!

Within moments you’ll have yourself what looks like a sheet of lemon glass.

folding lemon sheet!

But it’s more gooey than glassy. Use a scraper to begin peeling it up at one corner.

hardening mix folded!

Keep folding around the corners and edges till you’re facing down a large lemon glob.

sugar in glob!

To prevent the glob from evolving into a Blob and consuming all humanity, appease it by dumping a bunch of sugar on it.

lemon drop sheets!

The placated glob is malleable enough to be formed into sheets that are then run through a set of rollers fitted with one among dozens of different attachments they have for shaping and molding their various candies.

lemon drops presto!

After pressing, the sheets will be segmented and can be smashed into their individual candy units.

lemon drop!

Behold: one (1) lemon drop at the end of its life cycle before consumption.

…and then we thanked them muchly, bought a lot of chocolate, and took off.

A few steps down the same quaint row of shops, we grabbed lunch at a place called the Red Yeti. They’ve plied farm-to-table artisan fare since 2014 in a building that dates back to 1881. As we encountered among many a restaurant throughout 2021 time and again, their menu seemed stripped down to essentials and there was a bit of a wait, but we were fine with it.

Red Yeti yeti!

With such a mascot bringing the truth in advertising, how could we not?

shrimp and grits!

The shrimp and grits were either a daily special or later removed from the menu after some seasonal change.

soup and salad!

Anne went with the soup-and-salad special — tomato bisque and some walnut-topped greens with, as I recall, a pear vinaigrette. (I’ll just edit this later if she remembers I’m wrong.)

lightbox art!

A spot of lightbox art on our walk.

scooters and art!

More art flourishes here and there. As society tries to leave the pandemic behind, scooters start popping up everywhere again. Transit science is healing.

To be continued! Other chapters in this very special MCC miniseries:

Part 1: Firefight Club
Part 3: The Ohio River Runs Through It
Part 4: Louisville Sluggish
Part 5: The Stones River Runs Through It
Part 6: A Taste of Tennessee
Part 7: The Atlanta Outtakes
Part 8: The Welcomes Back

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