Thursday, August 18, 2022

Sweet Tradition at WCF in Pike:
Fowlers Taffy exceeds 80 years at Wyoming County Fair this week

Fowler's Taffy Manager Bob Langendorfer
stretches out some Taffy Wednesday at the
Wyoming County Fair in Pike. The booth 
serves a couple hundred pounds of Taffy 
and hundreds of Candy Apples
each day at the Fair.

A true carnival story brought one of the longest running vendors to the Wyoming County Fair at Pike by happenstance.

David Fowler said Tuesday that his family has been serving fairgoers for more than 80 years because his mother and father were passing through the area on the way from the Allegany County Fair when their car broke down.

As the saying goes, they never left.

“They developed a friendship and have been coming back year after year, and I plan on carrying on the tradition,” Fowler said.

Fowler’s Taffy has been operating since 1917 and as a company Fowler’s has expanded into other food services including pizza and lemonade.

“Having a business that’s 105 years old is pretty commendable in this day and age, and to be a part of this legacy is an overwhelming feeling really, I feel very blessed, very grateful,” Fowler said.

Fowler himself has recently stepped down to just an owner and entrusted the operations of the taffy stand to his friend, Bob Langendorfer, who is seen round the clock making and stretching the taffy.

Langendorfer and Fowler have been friends for almost 40 years and worked together for just more than 30 years making taffy together.

Fowler remembers his dad teaching him and Langendorfer how to make taffy and loves sharing the experience with others.

“When you make it, you create nostalgia, you create what’s called flash for the people that come to the fair,” Fowler said. “They want to see things that they don’t get to see every day.”

Fowler said that their taffy has encompassed the area, appearing all over locally, and is expected to return year after year.

He said that in an average day at the Wyoming County Fair they serve a couple hundred pounds of taffy and hundreds of candy apples.

Fowler said that it’s fun to show people what you can make with just sugar and water.

“It all boils down to science,” said Fowler, making a fitting candy joke. “Over the years my dad taught me and Bob how to make candy. There’s not really any improvements unless we want to develop new flavors.”

Fowlers’s favorite flavors are vanilla and watermelon. He said that the cinnamon recipe has not changed in almost 100 years.

‘Why mess with perfection?” Fowler asked with a laugh.

His daughter recently created a new flavor called Superhero — a complex recipe that they only created once with seven different flavors and seven different colors.

At the Wyoming County Fair, there are an average of three employees working. They include a candy maker, a wrapper, and a counter server.

“We hire a lot of local kids to give them a chance to give them a life experience that you wouldn’t learn in school,” said Fowler.

Fowler enjoys coming to the Wyoming County Fair because he loves seeing the families that come through the fair each year.

“It’s wonderful, I’ve seen children of children of children. That’s three generations of people coming to the fair,” said Fowler. “It’s a great feeling to be accepted by the community and it’s a great feeling to just be part of this wonderful tradition.”

Fowler said that he loves to see happy customers walk away from the stand each day.

“We truly enjoy and appreciate the support that the community gives us, it enables us to keep returning and just create more memories for everybody. That’s what it’s all about, we try to create an experience here at the fair. We don’t just come here and vend; we want people to remember us when they walk away.”

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