Archives for October 2011

Book Signing with Lexington Author


Join author Deborah Swiss at nourish Restaurant on Sunday,

November 6th at 3pm for a Fistula Surgery

Benefit and Book Discussion & Signing by Deborah J. Swiss, author of

THE TIN TICKET, The Heroic Journey of Australia’s Convict Women.

Suggested Donation: $10.00.  Complimentary Hors D’oeuvres.

Reservations Recommended: 508-641-0878

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Safe Routes to School at Bowman School

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at Bowman Elementary School officially unveiled several infrastructure projects funded and completed by MassDOT using a $455,000 grant from the federal Safe Routes to School program. MassDOT Director Ned Codd spoke at the event.

As a Safe Routes partner, Bowman Elementary is provided with education and encouragement activities to increase bicycling and walking activity amongst its students. Schools that partner with MassDOT to offer these are also eligible for federal funding to build infrastructure projects specifically targeted at helping children get to school safely and conveniently. Safe Routes to School is federally-funded and administered by the MassRIDES travel options program on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

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Lexingtonians Visit Antony, France

By Laurie Atwater

Two years ago we had so much fun meeting our sister-city visitors from Antony, France here in Lexington.  It was such a rewarding experience!  When we heard that a group of Lexingtonians were planning to go again for the 25th anniversary of the Antony’s Wine & Cheese Faire, we really wanted to make it happen.  Running a small business does lend itself to much vacation time, but we adjusted our schedule and headed off to France for a whirlwind visit that was extraordinaire!

Antony is a suburb outside Paris with roots going back to the medieval ages.  It lies just seven miles outside the city and is accessible by the RER (France equivalent of the commuter rail here in Boston connecting the city with the suburbs). Just before we leave, we run into Bud Frawley at the Post Office in Lexington center and we discover that Bud and Shirley are on the same flight! Phew, they help us find the RER and get into Antony.

Bud and Shirley have a long history with our sister-city.  In 1996, they made a trip to Antony, stayed with Antonians and biked in the Loire Valley. The informal relationship continued when a group of Antonians visited Lexington for an autumn foliage tour.

I am told that the official relationship between Lexington and Antony began as an academic exchange and was organized by Karen Girondel who was a French teacher in the Lexington middle schools. When Madame Girondel moved to the high school she brought the program with her. Every year for the past 20 years between 15 and 20 Lexington High School students have participated in the French Exchange program with our sister school, Lycee Descartes in Antony.

In 1998, Antony extended an official invitation to Lexington to attend the 1999 Antony Wine & Cheese Festival when Antonians would dedicate a monument in Antony to be called the Place de Lexington.  A large contingent of Lexingtonians traveled to Antony for this very special occasion including a group of re-enactors from the Lexington Minute Man Company.  Shirley and Bud Frawley have such fond memories of that visit when the Minute Men marched in the Antony parade and actually shot off their muskets much to the surprise of the locals!

In 2008, two Lexingtonians, John Patrick of the Lexington tourism committee and Anthony Galaitsis a member of the Lexington Antony Sister City Association traveled to Antony to once again reinvigorate the relationship. They met with Antony Mayor Jean-Yvesnant and Adjoint-Mayor Marie-Louise Marlet as well as many members of Antony civic government to organize events for 2009 and 2010.

Over forty Lexingtonians visited Antony in 2009 and after a long year of fundraising, Lexington was able to provide a festive trip for forty Antony visitors for the 2010 Patriots Day parade and a week of activities, meals and hospitality with little expense to them. It was during that 2010 visit that Jim and I came to really appreciate the richness of the sister-city relationship.  The Antony contingent attended the Lexington Symphony April 19th concert as guests of Elsa Sullivan and the Lexington Symphony performed the Marseillaise in their honor.

Lexington organizations continue their outreach to Antony. Fred Johnson, President of the Lexington Symphony and several symphony supporters including Elsa Sullivan, Christina and George Gamota and Sandy Gasbarro were also on this recent trip. Fred had a special mission in mind. He was able to meet with Isabelle Rolland, Adjunct Mayor for Culture, Xavier Roy, Cultural Services Aide, Guy Borderieux, Director of the Antony Conservatory of Music and Anny Leon, Deputy Mayor for Associations to discuss a possible exchange program between Lexington Symphony musicians and Antony musicians.

Fred was more than thrilled with the outcome of the meeting. Antony has no orchestra comparable to ours,he said. “We agreed that it would be best to explore a collaboration of modest scale at first” perhaps 6-8 players from each town to make up a chamber group of 12-16. The musicians might be hosted in each others homes during their visits. In the past there have been exchanges between artists and artisans in Lexington and Antony; musicians would add a new and exciting dimension to the exchange.

This most recent trip to Antony celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Antony Wine and Cheese Fair.  A small group of Lexingtonians made the trip. John Patrick who also serves on the Lexington Tourism Committee helped to coordinate the trip and did a great job pulling it all together.  Tony Galaitsis and his wife Kitty continued their warm relationship with the group as did Kerry and Jan Brandin, Sylvie Desaveines and Kevin McGuire and Bill and Maureen Poole to name a few.

Antony’s wine and cheese fair is a well-organized marriage between business and tourism that really works for the city. People come from all around to enjoy the city center, sample the most delicious wines and cheeses and have fun.

On our first full day in Antony, Bud and Shirley Frawley kindly offer to escort us up from the wine and cheese festival to the Place de Lexington where we find the monument to the Lexington/Antony sister city relationship. Located in the middle of a busy thoroughfare, the obelisk is surrounded by gorgeous plantings and flanked by a park and bicycle path.  As we are enjoying the view I detect a rumbling beneath my feet and Bud laughs as he explains that the train is actually underneath our feet!

It was a gorgeous day (uncharacteristically hot for autumn) and the wine and cheese festival was in full swing. Huge speakers broadcast the conversations of a roving master of ceremonies with a wireless mike.  Of course he stopped to interview Mrs. Elsa Sullivan who was definitely the Grand Dame of the fair! Elsa, a Francophile of the first order once again made the trip (I don’t know exactly what number trip this was, but it;s been more than a few for Elsa) and she took it all in with the vigor of someone half her age! She is truly an inspiration.

The festival takes over Antony’s old city which is distinguished by cobblestone streets and crowned by a beautiful church. The charm of the entire affair cannot be oversold vintners sampling wine, huge rounds of aromatic cheese piled high, customers tasting, buying and strolling about with their children enjoying the weather it was a perfect day!  At one point we were called over by a young mom watching her two daughters.  She had heard us speaking English and just wanted to chat. Originally from Britain, she married a Frenchman and now resides just outside of Antony. She told us how much she loves living in the area and how much her girls love the schools.  Along the way we watch a chef prepare a delicious topping for toasty rounds of buttery French bread, lunch at a Lebanese restaurant and finally wind up at the most perfect gallery for coffee.

After the hummus and lamb luncheon, we make our way with Sandy Gasbarro, Fred Johnson and Antony city council member Anny Leon, to her friends studio and gallery where she hospitably brews coffee and treats us to chocolate. We are surrounded by huge canvasses of wild horses, generous breasts and round bottoms!  It’s all so so French!  As it turns out, the art studio is also a music studio!  Downstairs after hours it’s an impromptu jazz club.  Anny’s artist friend is also a musician and Anny is a huge jazz fan. We descend the steps and Fred Johnson sits down at the keyboard and begins to tickle the ivories!  Who knew?  It seems France brings out the inner artiste in us all and we learn that Fred paid his way through college playing the piano!

Antony pulled out the stops the next night when we enjoyed the company of sister-city mayors honored visitors from Collegno, Italy. Collegno and Antony were celebrating 50 years as sister cities! Antony is twinned with 10 cities throughout the world. The mayor from Reinickendorf, Germany was also in attendance and we all joined together for a wonderful dinner and exchange of gifts.

At our table we were pleased to share dinner with several Antony residents as well as a colorful couple from Collegno who were professional ballroom dancers!  Antony Mayor Jean-Yvesnant and Deputy Mayor Marie Louise Marlet extended the friendship and the hospitality of Antony in spectacular fashion.  I sat beside Armelle Cottenceau, an Antony official who came to dinner equipped with a French/English dictionary. We had a delightful time as she tolerated my poor French and we looked up words in the dictionary. Just a small indication of how much the Antony people are willing to go out of their way to welcome you and have a good time.

Immediately following the dinner Antony lit up the night with fireworks and music to celebrate Wine and Cheese Festival.  It was a spectacular night summery and clear. Residents of Antony were out in force including throngs of young people mixing in and enjoying the festivities.

The lasting impressions we have of Antony, will stay with us always, but most striking is the open and welcoming nature of the people. Approaching our final day, one of the Antony’s incredible volunteers, Helene Hua heard that we wanted to go into Paris to do a little sightseeing.  She and her friend Evelyn Tricot offered to escort us in to Paris on the RER and help us to navigate the Metro so that we can see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumph and walk the Champs-Elysees!  Helene and Evelyn rearranged their day so that they could help us out!  This is the hospitality and friendship that makes the sister-city relationship so special.

With these two women to navigate the Paris Metro, we didn’t miss a thing!  Helene even took us to her favorite rooftop where we could practically reach out and touch the Paris Opera House.  We dodged the gypsies at the Eiffel Tower, went to the top of the Arc de Triumph and even had time for a quick sandwich on the Champs Elysees!  Oh, and a little shopping too!  As we rode down the escalator from the roof at Printemps, we couldn’t believe it when we saw a whole display of goods bearing the name LEXINGTON!  From hats to pillows, the brand used Lexington to define a kind of rustic American style.

All of that and we still made it back to the hotel in Antony just in time to pick up our luggage and head into the airport.  We were exhausted, but it was well worth it.  That final day with two irrepressible women made our trip complete!

If you would like to become a part of the Lexington/Antony Sister City Association visit The next visit to Lexington is scheduled for 2013.

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Community Conversation Sparks Great Ideas

By Laurie Atwater |    I would say it was very successful in view of the level of enthusiasm of the attendees. They seemed to feel comfortable expressing their personal opinions even though they might have been sitting with people whom they did not know. In reading the feedback from each table it is clear that while there are many issues people talked about, there were some overriding themes which continued to be mentioned at almost every table. I found that both surprising and striking.  Nancy Adler, League member and event organizer


I felt like the event was a huge success and was really impressed not only with the diversity of the participants in terms of age and background, but also with the caliber of the ideas that were generated. My perception of life in Lexington has been driven in large part by my own experiences and by my interactions with people my own age. Hearing from the others at my table gave me fascinating new perspectives on living in Lexington.  Noah Kaufman, TM Member, Precinct 8

We were very pleased with the turnout. We had an almost full-capacity crowd and people from different age groups and interests participated. Our table facilitators were a diverse group as well, including two high school juniors, town staff, a member of the clergy, and a variety of other Lexington residents. Pam Hoffman, event organizer


The wonderful thing about the Community Conversation is that it brought to everyone’s attention that many people have been feeling the need to create more of a sense of community. The purpose of a community center is to increase the sense of community, so the conversation gave us a lot of information that will help us in our work.  Laura Hussong, Chair of the Community Center Task Force


It was a true community happening; the event brought together volunteers across many organizations in Lexington as well as participants from town groups including the Town Manager Carl Valente, Senior Services Director Charlotte Rogers, Recreation Director Karen Simmons, Selectmen Norm Cohen, Hank Manz, George Burnell and Peter Kelley, Planning Board Chairman Wendy Manz, 20/20 Chair and assistant to the town manager Candy McLaughlin, School Committee members Jessie Steigerwald and Margaret Coppe, Town Meeting Members Association chair Nancy Ronchetti and many more. It was great to see such an outpouring of support for community by community members.

So was it attended by the usual suspects you know, the core group that typically attends these events? Well, yes and no. We are happy to say that those tremendous citizens did turn out, and they are typically 40 plus, but there were also some new faces and some young faces. In fact I ran into Brenda Prusak who attended the event a couple of days later and she was delighted to see “an entirely different group of people than I usually see.”

Brenda group was facilitated by Noah Kaufman, Jay Kaufman’s son, a member of town meeting from Precinct 8 and a young attorney with Foley Hoag LLP. Noah was joined by several other young Lexingtonians David Atkins and Adam Hoffman who are both students at LHS. It was good to see these young people getting involved!

Event co-organizer and League member Peg Enders was thrilled with the turnout and the cooperative spirit that developed while planning the forum, “Every one of the volunteers worked really well together,” she said.

Indeed the event had a great vibe. The room was bright and colorful and the greeters were warm and personable. It was very well organized. From the color coded tables (the brainchild of Pat Romeo Gilbert) to the coffee and snacks (organized by Susan LaPointe and donated in part by the Minuteman High School Culinary Arts Department), the evening facilitated by Town Moderator Deborah Brown, went off without a hitch and maintained a civil and friendly atmosphere throughout just as the organizers hoped it would.

There were over a hundred attendees randomly assigned to working groups of about ten at a table. The goal: address two questions: 1) How can our community be more helpful and supportive to me? 2) How can I become more engaged in our community?

Peg Bradley of the Lexington league of Women Voters opened the session inviting participants to “imagine and dream a little about what could be.” After opening remarks the groups got down to work and the room began to buzz with conversation. Each table was staffed with a facilitator and a scribe. Scribes kept track of the comments and were charged with reporting out to the larger group at the end of thirty minutes.

At the break I chatted with Meredith Applegate, a young mother and co-president of LexFUN. Getting out in the evening for a community event is not easy for her as a mom of two young kids. Meredith wouldn’t have made it if her husband hadn’t been available to watch the kids. As an active participant in LexFUN, Meredith has concerns about meeting space in town. Though the group meets at Cary Library they have no central place to store their materials.

Deb Rourke, lifelong Lexington resident and former LEF co-president says, “It’s nice to be in a room with so many who care about the town. There’s lots of people here that I don’t know! It’s really any example of what makes Lexington special. Lots of people come out because they feel a responsibility to make the community even better.”

At another table high school student David Atkins comments: “Kids can do more, but were not often asked.” He says he “enjoys politics” and is “interested in getting more involved in the community.” (see page 45 for a short interview with David).

It needs to be said that none of the results from this event can be statistically projected as a valid representation of the feelings or concerns of the entire population of Lexington; the sample was not controlled for age, ethnicity, or income. However, each table was comprised of random groups which cut down on agenda-driven discussions and encouraged a mix within the whole. So, though it was not a scientific study, it is instructive to use these opportunities to direct further research and study down the road. Responses have been recorded and will be supplied to town committees and agencies.

So lets delve into some of the details. From Tai Chi on the Green to block parties, the suggestions ran the gamut for creating ways for people to connect. Here’s a sampling.

One common theme was the need for an intergenerational gathering space:

“A community center that includes a senior center, but not limited to seniors.”

“A community center for seniors and teens—pool tables, ping-pong, foosball. Used to be on at the Hancock Church.”

Another consistent thread was the need for better community-wide communication:

“Develop consistent two-way communications between high school and town.”

“Make police kiosk by CVS a community bulletin board.”

“Better communication about town services/events. A better website and central resource site.”

People also addressed concerns about traffic and transportation:

“Transportation: more locations for LexPress, more busses.

“Improved infrastructure so that transportation is more available to people who need it.

And then there were the simple ideas to increase opportunities for people to socialize:

“More community-wide events (like) Halloween and Discovery Day”

“If everyone went home and organized a block party, it would change one sense of community.”

“More playgrounds.”

“Neighborhood potluck dinner.”

Many of the frequently discussed issues in town also arose: the limited selection of businesses in the center and the resulting lack of vibrancy was noted which I found interesting when coupled with the observation that the most successful community-wide events cited were Discover Day and Halloween which are both conducted downtown and sponsored by the Lexington Retailers Association. People love to be in the center and appreciate the efforts of the center businesses.

So, there you have it. Many of your neighbors turned out to talk about the community. Do you have ideas? At the very least maybe it would be worth it to reach out to a neighbor, introduce yourself to someone new, join a club or check out one of the great activities sponsored by LexFUN (see page 29), the Historical Society (see page 35) or the Lexington Symphony (see page 17) to name a few organizations and activities in town.

From my perspective the big takeaway of the evening was a sense of disconnection and isolation people are longing for a deeper connections within their lives and with the greater community and there is great frustration about how to find it. Whether a high school student in the bubble of LHS, a new parent, an empty nester, a senior citizen or from a different cultural background, all expressed a need to know more about what is going on in town, have more opportunities to participate and meet new people, find more informal ways to socialize with neighbors and more ways to create connection in their lives through their evolving life stages. How can we make that a little easier in Lexington? Maybe we can start by adopting some of these simple suggestions from the forum: Be more neighborly. Help people who are having a hard time. Care.

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Fun Halloween Activities Around Town

LexFUN! Halloween Parade

Saturday, October 29, 8:45-10am

Battle Green / Massachusetts Ave & Bedford St, Lexington, MA


Calling all little witches, goblins, and superheroes and their families to parade in costume with musical instruments around the Lexington Battle Green! After the parade join in more fun with a Halloween craft. Be sure to bring a canned food and/or financial donation to enjoy our bake sale to support the Lexington Food Pantry. The event is free, and the kids are the show!  In the event of rainy weather on Saturday 10/29, please check the LexFUN! website,, after 7 AM on 10/29 for cancellation/rain date instructions.


Creepy Halloween Crafts

Saturday, October 29

Cary Library

For children of all ages. Children and their caregivers are invited to stop by the Library for a special Halloween craft program. This program will be held in the large Meeting Room on the Library’s Lower Level. No registration is necessary. Preschool programs require no advance registration. For programs listed as *Sign-up Online,* go to , locate the event in the online Calendar of Events, click on the “hand” symbol to the right of the program listing, and fill in the required information.  You may also register in person, or by telephone, at (781) 862-6288, ext. 170.




Adult Halloween Dance Party

Saturday, Oct. 29th

8:00 PM

Lexington Knights of Columbus Hall

(177 Bedford Street, Lexington).

Food; DJ & Dancing; Cash Bar; Silent Auction all to benefit the Lexington High School Softball Team. Open to the Public. Costumes strongly encouraged! Admission is $20 in advance and $25.00 at the door.


The Big Broadcast of 1954

The Regent Theatre

7 Medford St, Arlington, MA, $20

Friday Oct. 28 & Sunday Oct. 30

All shows start at 8pm and are 2 hours long

Join the Post-Meridian Radio Players this October for The Big Broadcast of 1954: Featuring Frank Cyrano’s Byfar Hour and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow! Travel back to 1954 with the comedy and variety stylings of the Byfar Hour featuring Frank Cyrano, Amelia Adams, Charley Kendall, Jenny Brennan and the gang! This Halloween Frank Amelia Adams, Charley Kendall, Jenny Brennan and the gang! This Halloween Frank

Cyrano meets Katherine Hepburn with hilarious results! Then settle back as we present the classic Washington Irving tale,’ The Legend of Sleepy Hollow!’ Adapted by Roy Sallows (But Oh, What Happened to Hutchings!), our version of Sleepy Hollow is guaranteed to leave you looking over your shoulder on the way home. Boston-band Jaggery provides the music for the creepy tale.

The Big Broadcast of 1954 is the premiere performance of the national Sleepy Hollow: Ride Across America project. Four cities, four different horsemen, one Halloween. Visit for more information about the Sleepy Hollow: Ride Across America project. Tickets are $20.00 regular price and $12.00 for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased online and at the box office of the Regent Theatre:

For more information about the Big Broadcast of 1954, visit




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Candy Castle at 30. Sweeter than Ever!

Molyna Sim and Paul Clancy at the chocolate counter. All Candy Castle’s chocolates are hand made locally.

 By Heather Aveson  |  “I am the proverbial ‘kid in a candy store,’” admits Paul Clancy swinging a 2-foot long baseball bat filled with chocolates. And it’s a good thing too, since he’s the owner of Lexington’s Candy Castle celebrating its 30th anniversary this month. Paul and his store manager Molyna Sim remind me of a chocolate covered pretzel in the candy case. The flavors are very different, but work really well together.

Paul’s playfulness can try the patience of the, sometimes, more practical Molyna. Paul ordered the 2-foot long baseball bats, along with giant lollipops and “Idaho Spud” candy while Molyna was away recently. “I couldn’t believe it when this really large order arrived. All I could say was, ‘we’ve got to do something about the price of these baseball bats,” chides Molyna with a laugh, “after all, we are a business and we have to have a profit margin.” Paul just shrugs his shoulders, “Aren’t they great!”

Playfulness is just one side of Paul. He bought the store in 2008 from the second owners, Darla and JC Massad. Paul had been selling and supplying food service and ice cream equipment to local mom and pop shops. That’s how he met Darla and JC When the couple decided to sell, Paul was already familiar with the business and Paul decided to step in. All fun aside, it’s hard work,“It’s a lot more work and a lot more hours than I was working, but in the end it’s a lot more satisfying.”

Barbara Doherty of Winchester opened the original Candy Castle in 1981 in a tiny storefront around the corner on Meriam Street. She knows what Paul means. “It didn’t dawn on me how much physical work it would be. I’d start my day going to Somerville and picking up 300 lbs. of candy. And we did it all ourselves.” When she had the opportunity to move around the corner to the present location she grabbed it. “We didn’t miss a day. We couldn’t afford to. We carried everything around the corner ourselves and the customers were so nice, they just stepped over the boxes.”

After the move Barbara added freshly made frozen yogurt, slush in the summer and cold drinks for thirsty tourists. Paul credits much of Candy Castle’s longevity to its view of the Battle Green. “Tourists get off the bus and they see that tall cool drink in the window, we get a big boost from our location.” But it’s also a destination for locals. Christopher Lupone and his dad stopped by for a treat recently. While Christopher, who attends Hancock Nursery School, made his choices, Dad commented, “It’s hard to get away, we’re so busy with all things we do around town with the kids. So it’s like a mini-vacation when we come to Candy Castle.” A lot of kids have grown up with Candy Castle and it’s a go to destination for LHS kids after school and a must for younger kids on half days.

All the chocolates at Candy Castle are locally made.

For some of these kids Candy Castle is their first work experience as well. Molyna started out working part time while she was at LHS. She went away to school, but came back and worked a shift here and there during breaks. When Paul bought the store he asked Molyna to come back and help train his new staff. In 2009 he convinced her to come back as full time Manager. Now she’s the one watching high school students come and go. “I was hired as a local kid. I was able to do what I wanted to do and come back,” she says, “The girls from Lexington go off to college, get internships, and sometimes they need a job…it’s one of those places you keep coming back to.” Although it ruffles her feathers to hear it, Molyna is something of a mother hen to her brood of Lexington chicks. “I write college recommendations and references for them. Working here helps kids learn about dealing with finances, people, and following through on commitments.”

With Paul’s background in ice cream, it became a much bigger part of the shop when he took over. He loves making up new ice cream flavors, his favorite is ‘Devil Dog Ice Cream Delight’. “I remembered in middle school all those great snacks we had, Ring Dings, Yodels and Devil Dogs and I wanted to try something with that,” he says. There’s a lot more to it than just Devil Dogs and ice cream, yes there are real devil dogs in there, but I’m not giving the whole recipe away. You’ve just got to try it.

On the other hand, Molyna is The Queen of Fudge. She’s the one who comes up with creative new concoctions like Cake Batter Fudge. Both items are big seller and staples in the store.

The high quality locally made chocolates, offered individually or by the pound, are the foundation on which Candy Castle is built. ‘Penny candy’, nostalgia brands like Turkish Taffy and Beeman’s gum and the latest trends, “Can you believe there are 13 flavors of Pucker Powder?” fill out the candy section.

Staying ahead of trends is important to the business. The allergy free section has been expanded and features Vermont Nut Free Chocolates and Divvies candy, popcorn and cookies that are dairy free, egg free and nut free. “It makes it so much more fun for families when they come in and everybody can get something, even if they’ve got allergies,” says Molyna. They’ve also partnered with to offer a wider range of customized favors for any event. Now customers can go on-line, find just what they’re looking for and Candy Castle can make it up using their own fresh candy right there in the shop. “If someone is looking for something special, we’ll find it. If it’s still being made we’ll get if for them,” adds Molyna.

What do the next 30 years hold for Candy Castle? Paul would like to add an additional shop or two in the area. “I never want it to lose the hometown feel, but I think the basic business model could work for a lot of towns.” Is the rest of the world ready for ‘Devil Dog Ice Cream Delight’?

Candy Castle will be celebrating throughout the month of November with “Rolling Roll Back Specials.” Each week there’ll be a featured item at 1981 pricing. So stop by, pick up a treat and wish Candy Castle a “Happy 30th Anniversary.”


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