When Herbert Birch Kingston, a philanthropist and employee at a Cleveland candy company decided to do something nice for the city’s poor, homebound and orphans in 1922, he may not have realized that his idea would turn into a fall celebration that generates a lot of revenue for candy companies, florists and gift retailers.
Kingston started with a group of friends who went around the city, handing out candy and small gifts. That first year, actor Ann Pennington joined him, and she passed out 2,200 boxes of candy to newspaper boys throughout Cleveland. She wanted to let those boys know that people appreciated them and were grateful for their public service.
Another actor, Theda Barda, distributed 10,000 boxes of candy to patients in the city’s hospitals. She also handed out candy to movie theater patrons who came to the theater where one of the movies she starred in was playing.
That is the most popular version of the celebration’s origin. Another theory, which is supported by a story reported in the October 8, 1921 edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, suggests that C.C. Hartzell gathered a group of 12 of the city’s candy makers, after coming up with the idea. The group delivered over 20,000 boxes of candy to the poor and disenfranchised people of the city.
Sweetest Day began in Ohio, and for a long time, it was a distinctively northern Midwestern celebration in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and the Great Lakes in general. It was also celebrated in Pennsylvania and New York. As people left Ohio to move to other states, the tradition went with them, ultimately being introduced in the new states.
Today, it is celebrated on the third Saturday in October. It is a time when people can give their friends candy, as an expression of gratitude and appreciation for their friendship. But it’s also a chance to spread a bit of cheer to a significant other, in a romantic way.
Since Sweetest Day began with candy sharing, you can continue that tradition, and make it even more special by giving those special people in your life, Colt Chocolates. These delicious chocolates are made right here in Tennessee. Willa’s Shortbread are a southern tradition. These delicious cookies come in decorative bins that will keep them fresh.
Autumn Sophisticate is a spectacularly elegant arrangement that oozes fall with it’s earthy colors. The mixture of orchids and calla lilies brings the tropical exoticism of orchids together with majestic calla lilies in a square glass vase that is lined with river rock. A Bushel And A Peck is a delightfully whimsical fall flower arrangement that’s bursting with color and made a bit more unusual with a bushel basket container. It’s an easy and fun way to bring the richness of fall colors inside the house.