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Surrounded by PEZ dispensers on factory tour

Kidsday reporter Gavin Gonzalez of Forest Hills at

Kidsday reporter Gavin Gonzalez of Forest Hills at the PEZ Visitor Center in Orange, Conn. Photo Credit: Cherie Gonzalez

The PEZ factory in Orange, Connecticut, is a great place to visit. Visitors get to see how PEZ was originally introduced and how it was made throughout the years. On my marvelous tour, I even got to see the old limited-edition PEZ dispensers. The dispensers were Star Wars, Lucky Charms and a lot more. I loved that I got to see how the PEZ candy was made. There were tons of PEZ dispensers, surrounding me from corner to corner.

PEZ candy was invented in 1927 in Vienna, Austria, by Eduard Haas III. The PEZ candy was used as a breath mint. The name PEZ comes from the German pfefferminz, meaning peppermint. The mint was supposed to convince smokers to stop smoking. Using the first, middle and last letter of the word, Haas came up with the name PEZ. In 1948, Oscar Uxa invented and patented a little mechanical box for dispensing the candy.

In 1952, PEZ-Haas opened a headquarters in New York City. During the 1950s and ’60s, dispensers featuring Popeye, Mickey Mouse and more characters were produced.

In 1974, the headquarters moved to Orange. This is the same factory where I went. In the ’70s to ’90s, more features were added to PEZ dispensers to make them stand up and function more easily. New flavors have been added. PEZ also has kept on making thousands of dispensers based on movies and other things that were coming out.

I have two dozen PEZ dispensers. I am told that about half of them are “limited edition” — mostly “Star Wars” figures.

The PEZ Visitor Center is located at 35 Prindle Hill Rd., Orange, Conn. (online: pez.com). When you visit, don’t forget to see the humongous wall of PEZ dispensers. You can even have your birthday party here.

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