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Willy Wonka Day

"Mr Willy Wonka can make marshmallows that taste of violets, and rich caramels that change colour every ten seconds as you suck them, and little feathery sweets that melt away deliciously the moment you put them between your lips. He can make chewing-gum that never loses its taste, and sugar balloons that you can blow up to enormous sizes before you pop them with a pin and gobble them up. And, by a most secret method, he can make lovely blue birds' eggs with black spots on them, and when you put one of these in your mouth, it gradually gets smaller and smaller until suddenly there is nothing left except a tiny little DARKRED sugary baby bird sitting on the tip of your tongue.”

~ Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl, 1964

February 1st is the day in Roald Dahl's 1964 children's novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, that holders of the rare golden tickets found within the wrappings of chocolate bars were invited to tour eccentric chocolate maker Willy Wonka's factory! Dahl allegedly based Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on his experiences as a 13 year old taster for Cadbury. Cadbury would send Dahl's school boxes of chocolates for the boys to taste test. The boxes contained 12 chocolate bars wrapped in foil—one “control” bar and 11 new flavors! The chocolate spies who try to steal Willy Wonka’s inventions for rival candy makers in the novel were also based on real events. In the 1920s, competition among chocolatiers was so fierce that companies sent spies to steal each other’s innovations. During Dahl’s childhood, British candy firms Cadbury and Rowntree's became such vicious competitors that stories about their spying became the stuff of legend. Who knows? Today may be your own lucky "scrumdiddlyumptious " golden ticket day! You can certainly indulge in some chocolate! 🍫 🍫 🍫

Today is "golden ticket" day!  In the book, Charlie and his grandfather, visit Willy Wonka's chocolate factory with the rest of the golden ticket holders.  Interestingly, for the 1971 movie, the date was changed to October 1st, possibly because the movie locations used for the film, were filmed during the another season.

In the story, the five children are greeted outside the factory by the eccentric visionary Willy Wonka. The inside of the chocolate factory is magical, and the workers are revealed to be the tiny cacao-loving Oompa-Loompas, rescued from Loompaland by Wonka. As the tour progresses, four of the children, too self-centred to follow the rules, suffer bizarre -and often painful -consequences. In the Chocolate Room, the gluttonous Augustus Gloop falls into the river of chocolate and is sucked into a glass pipe carrying the liquid chocolate to be made into fudge. The gum-obsessed Violet Beauregarde steals a piece of experimental chewing gum, which turns her into a blueberry. The extremely spoiled Veruca Salt tries to seize a trained squirrel to have for herself, but the squirrels identify her as a bad nut and toss her down a garbage chute. Mike Teavee inserts himself into an experiment on sending candy bars through television and is shrunk to pocket size. The Oompa-Loompas regularly break into moralizing songs to comment on the children’s misbehaviour. At last, Wonka tells Charlie that, because of his respectful behaviour, he is being given the chocolate factory.

This famous story had a sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, published in 1972.  This continues the story of Charlie and Willy Wonka as  Charlie and family aboard the flying Great Glass Elevator. The Elevator accidentally goes into orbit, and Mr. Wonka docks them at the Space Hotel USA. Their interception of the hotel is mistaken by approaching astronauts and hotel staff in a Commuter Capsule and listeners on Earth (including the President of the United States) as an act of space piracy and they are variously accused of being enemy agents, spies and aliens!

This tartan, designed by Vicki Lauda uses colours inspired by chocolate and sweets (candy) wrappers!

For more on phrases and words that became popularized and well known following the novel's publication and the subsequent film, click the book cover illustration.

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