Fri, Jan 14, 2005 - Page 14 News List

Tainan County sugarcoats fun and games

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Welcome to Candy World, where your sweet tooth is king.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS BUREAU OF TAINAN COUNTY

From tomorrow through Feb. 28, the long disused Jiali Sugar Factory in Tainan County will be transformed into a sugarcoated melting pot of sweet fun and games at the inaugural Candy World festival (世界糖果文化節).

For a month and half visitors to the factory, which has been used as an art space since 2002, will be able to explore and enjoy everything from cuddly Japanese cartoon characters, Belgian chocolates and candies from the African state of Burkina Faso to the history of Taiwan's once thriving sugar industry.

Organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Tainan County (南縣政府文化局) and co-sponsored by the Council for Cultural Affairs (文建會) and President Chain Store Corp. (統一超商), Candy World 2005 is, according to organizers, set to offer something for the the young and old alike.

The International Candy Exhibition Hall will feature the products of candy manufactures from 25 countries. Some, such as companies from France, the US and Japan, are well known, while others like those from Turkey, Oman and Tunisia will be on hand to give visitors the opportunity to sample something different.

For the more mature sweet-toothed visitor, the Taiwanese Candy Cultural Showroom will give adults the chance to relive their childhood through an assortment of interactive games and multimedia presentations that showcase the history of Taiwan's sugar and candy-making industries.

The most popular feature of Candy World 2005 will, no doubt, be the International Chocolate Exhibition Hall where products from renowned chocolate manufacturing nations such as Belgium as well as lesser-known chocolate-making countries like Honduras will be displayed.

The exhibit will give visitors a glimpse at the history and the making of chocolate through the ages and will allow them to get down and dirty at a special DIY chocolate-making sessions. A special exhibition of unusual chocolate sculpture will also be on display and will include everything from chocolate castles to chocolate underwear.

Along with sweets, the festival also boasts a few more savory items. There will be a Yami Cultural Gallery in recognition of the East Coast aboriginal peoples, a literature museum dedicated to the history of Taiwanese literature and to cap it all off, Japan's most famous cartoon character, Hello Kitty, will have her own exhibition hall.

Fun, games and oddities it may be, but then Candy World is basically yet another of the seemingly never-ending line of slapdash festivals organized by central and local governments in an attempt to generate tourism. Exactly how a festival located in the bowls of Tainan County will achieve this is anybody's guess, however.

There is an English language hotline (06 623-6373), but those who answer the phones don't speak a lick of the language and the site itself is in a pretty out-of-the-way locale.

The festival site is 18km north of Tainan City, and unless you have your own form of transportation, getting there is problematic. The only way to reach the site is to take a train to the town of Hsinying (新營) then transfer to one of the special buses for the final 26km journey. If you're coming from Taipei, the trip could take up to five hours. Yum, yum!

Event information:

What: Candy World 2005

(世界糖果文化節)

Where: Jiali Sugar Factory,

No 130, Liou-an Village, Jiali Township, Tainan County (台南縣佳里鎮六安里130號 -- 佳里糖廠)

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