Man Finds Golden Ticket to Win Candy Factory in Willy Wonka-Inspired Contest

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A sweet end for someone, albeit a sour one for others.

What sounds like it was inspired by the plot of the famous story of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” one Colorado man is now the owner of a candy factory in Florida after finding a golden ticket buried in an Indiana field, according to the Miami Herald.

The American manhunt to win a candy factory has gone on for a year as a golden ticket buried in Kokomo, Indiana, was waiting to be found. At the end of August, Andrew Maas, 39, found the sweet spot and recovered the coveted ticket to claim his massive prize – a 4,000-square-foot candy factory.

“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it,’” Maas told the Associated Press. “After all this time, I had it. It was so surreal. I had been thinking about this for a year. It was a crazy mix of adrenaline and excitement.”

The Willy Wonka-inspired treasure hunt was created by David “Candyman” Klein, who developed the world-famous Jelly Belly brand in 1976 and founded Candyman Kitchens, the Associated Press reported.

Over 35,000 people participated solving riddles and then going around the country in the middle of a pandemic for tickets hidden in every state for a $5,000 prize, the Gazette reported.

However, the reward for the golden ticket that Maas found was the keys to a candy castle.

Maas, his wife and two children made the hunt for the golden ticket a family affair. They searched in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and South Dakota, according to the Gazette. Eventually, the clues led them to the Vermont Covered Bridge in Indiana where they hit the jackpot.

"It was just a fun family event," he told the Gazette. "It's so fun to get out and see areas around that we'd never been to before."

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