NATIONAL WISCONSIN DAY
On February 15, National Wisconsin Day recognizes The Badger State.
Rich in copper, lead, forest and fertile farmland, Wisconsin became the 30th state. In 1634, French explorer Jean Nicolet was the first European to reach Wisconsin while seeking a Northwest passage to China.
A mining boom, not fur trading, led to the nickname The Badger State. According to oral history, the miners burrowed into the hillsides much like badgers for shelter instead of setting up more permanent homesteads. The first wave of settlers to the area also began the uprooting of the Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Chippewa and other indigenous people.
Early in Wisconsin’s settlement, dairy production began to take root. By the turn of the century, the state became known for its dairy farms and synonymous with cheese.
Mining, dairies, and breweries grew one after the other. An influx of German immigrants in the 1850s brought a new brand of dreamers. Brewers cropped up across Wisconsin satisfying the thirst of The Badger State. As with brewers in other regions of the country, the 18th Amendment of 1919 prohibiting alcohol drowned out much of the competition leaving only a handful after the legislation was repealed in 1933.
From Lake Michigan to Superior and numerous river and lakes in between, Wisconsin offers ample opportunity for water recreation and sport. There are also year-round trails perfect for summer hiking or substantial snow for winter activities.
NATIONAL GUMDROP DAY
Observed on February 15th, National Gumdrop Day recognizes a favorite candy of many; the gumdrop! There’s no question as to what to do. Eat gumdrops and eat as many as you want!
Gumdrops are a tasty, colorful, chewy candy that is made with gelatin and then coated with sugar. They come in a variety of flavors and can either be fruity or spicy. These little candy treats make terrific embellishments for decorating gingerbread houses and other baked goods.
The classic board game, Candy Land, features both a Gumdrop Pass and a Gumdrop Mountain.
Besides enjoying them by the handful, there are many other ways to use gumdrops:
- In cookies
- Decorate cakes or cupcakes
- In popcorn cake
- For crafts
- For gifts
You can also make gumdrops yourself. According to many recipes, you would need vegetable oil, sugar, corn syrup, fruit juice, powdered fruit pectin, baking soda, and food coloring.
Credit for the modern gumdrop goes to chemist and candy manufacturer Percy S. Truesdell. According to articles after his death in 1948, Truesdell took the once hard, poorly flavored glob of sugar and turned it into the smooth, chewy delight we enjoy today. While at the University of Ohio, the chemist altered the consistency of the candy by experimenting with the amount of starch used. He later worked for the Snyder-Chafee Company until 1915. In 1916, Truesdell founded and incorporated the P.S. Truesdell Candy Manufacturing Company. At his death, he became known as the Gumdrop King.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalGumdropDay
Listen to The Crew Cuts sing their song “Gum Drop” or play a game of Candy Land. As you do, be sure to enjoy your favorite gumdrops, too!
Enjoy one of the following colorful recipes:
Use #NationalGumdropDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL GUMDROP DAY HISTORY
While National Day Calendar has not uncovered the origin of National Gum Drop Day, it has been observed since at least 2004.