OTSEGO, Mich. — There’s a giant chocolate mountain that reaches the ceiling, colorful lollipops taller than adults, cupcakes the size of toddlers and gumballs taped to the wall. The staff at the Otsego Public Library have taken the beloved children’s boardgame CandyLand and brought it to life.
“We wanted it to be really full blown awesome when you walked in the door,” said Director Andrea Estelle during an interview at the library. “We wanted people to feel like they were inside the game.”
Like the board game, the room is divided up into different sections, like Candy Castle, Lollipop Woods and Licorice Lagoon. Connecting them is a maze of colorful blocks. Children played by pulling a colored card out of the bucket and finding the block on the floor that matched it.
“The kids have been so excited,” said Estelle. “They come in the room and they’re like ‘Wow this is awesome.’”
Adults said the same thing. It reminded Kosandra Grandmason of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a movie she watched with her kids last night.
“It’s very cool,” said Grandmason who drove in from Allegan with her children. “I use to play this game when I was little. So it’s kind of cool to have [it] like life-size.”
Estelle said they came up with the idea a few months ago and spent all of November transforming their program room into CandyLand. They made the cupcakes out of tin foil and laundry baskets, peppermints out of paper plates and graham cracker trees out of cardboard.
“We had a blast putting it together,” said Estelle. “A lot of the ideas came from just thinking about ‘how can we make this out of what we have. So we made all the ice cream cones out of cardboard and masking tape.”
CandyLand opened Tuesday and the response has been overwhelming, she said. Over 400 people have already played the game in two days and the event has been shared over 2,000 times on Facebook. Because of it’s popularity, they expect to surpass last year’s mini-golf total of 700 by the end of the week.
“We had 160 people come on the first day,” said Estelle. “We had 100 people by noon.”
Estelle said there is a small fee to pay. CandyLand will run until January 21 and they’re using the time to fundraise to add more toys and a new playhouse to their Early Literacy Center. They’re charging $1 per player or $5 for families. However they are accepting any donations. They just received one from as far away as Ohio. Ultimately, the staff hopes visitors will see how much libraries have to offer.
“I just want people to know that libraries are really a magical place to come and CandyLand is a perfect example of that,” said Estelle. “There’s so much that your library offers you that you might not even realize, so come and check it out.”