Is there really a day set aside each year to celebrate cotton candy? Fortunately, the answer is yes. National Cotton Candy Day on Dec. 7 gives Americans a day to celebrate all things cotton candy – including making some of your own.
National Cotton Candy Day is an annual event. On this day, some people research and share the history of cotton candy with family and friends. They post online using the hashtag #NationalCottonCandyDay. Some make the time to buy cotton candy and share it with others. You can also rent special machines that allow you to make your own cotton candy for large groups.
Here are some fun facts and other tidbits about cotton candy.
Cotton candy weaves into the fabric of many great American experiences, especially carnivals and fairs. Many people who grew up in the United States tried their first cotton candy in the food stalls near the midway. Fittingly, cotton candy made its debut at a fair – the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.
Cotton candy may be a sugary treat, but it was invented by a dentist! In 1897, dentist William Morrison teamed up with confectioner John C. Wharton to create what they called “Fairy Floss,” which they created by designing a machine that spun heated sugar through a screen. About 20 million people visited the fair, and the entrepreneurial duo sold plenty of Fairy Floss. After the fair, the pair continued to sell Fairy Floss in their native Tennessee.
Dentists and cotton candy come together a lot in the history of “spun sugar.” In 1921, a dentist in Louisiana – Joseph Lascaux – invested in another cotton candy machine. Lascaux came up with the name “cotton candy,” which he used on his patent. That term ended up becoming more popular than Fairy Floss, which after two decades of popularity began to get replaced.
Lascaux picked the name “cotton candy” because he thought the spun sugar concoction his machine produced looked a lot like the cotton growing in the fields of his native Louisiana.
In 1949, Gold Medal Products made improvements to the original Fairy Floss machine that made it more stable. And in 1970, further improvements made the machine completely automated – the machine could even bag cotton candy without the help of a person!
You can now get cotton candy in all kinds of flavors, including bubble gun, maple syrup and banana. It’s also used as the basis for other dishes. For example, there is even a Cotton Candy Burrito. It’s truly one of the most versatile, tasty treats out there.
Cotton candy remains popular to this day at fairs, carnivals, fundraisers and backyard birthday parties. Despite all the changes since 1897, it’s still basically the same treat as always – delicious spun sugar. Sometimes great ideas come from surprising places, and in this case, two dentists were both onto something special – something deserving of a National Cotton Candy Day.