Derek Lawson, a Rural Hall native who runs the Gummy Bear Guy booth at the Dixie Classic Fair, frequently hears from customers with suggestions for gummy treats he can make. "I get this all the time: 'hey, have you ever thought of ...' or 'hey, you should do this ...'," he said.
Since he brings his trailer to a lot of fairs, one idea that kept coming up over the years was a gummy goldfish, inspired by the Midway games where people throw ping pong balls and try to win a bagged fish they can take home.
"It would be too easy to make a gummy goldfish, put it on a stick, and say 'boom,'" Lawson said. "For years I kept holding off, telling people when it's right, when I come up with a thing that takes it to the next level... and then I had the idea and said 'got it, got it!'"
The $7 item tastes like Mandarin orange, Lawson said. It comes suspended in a bag of slightly tinted water to replicate the look of a goldfish you may have won as a prize; but it is in a separate resealable baggie inside the bag so it doesn't get wet. The gummy itself weighs about half a pound.
"Cut to the chase: The day when we were able to put the fish in the bag and walk around where it's indiscernible for the goldfish you won — the biggest difference is mine looks bigger and more edible — now we're at something that I would put my name on," he said. "It looks the part."
He's still tweaking the idea, and when he comes back to the fair next year hopes to add flavored water and a sippy straw if he can work out the details.
Other new gummies this year at Lawson's booth include a gummy ice cream cone, with six levels of gummy each in a different flavor; gummy pie slices, with graham cracker flavored 'crusts' and flavors including cherry, key lime or lemon; and gummy flowers; and gummy replicas of the popular "poop emoji" on a stick. Those are in addition to the classics such as gummy food replicas (hot dogs, hamburgers, pickles, etc.) and gummy animals — including, of course, the classic gummy bears.
The goldfish is one of the most popular items at the booth this year, Lawson said, "and you didn't have to throw one ping pong ball."'