Before 37 leaders from throughout Connecticut met for their annual September League of Women Voters of Connecticut Leaders’ Dinner, some stopped off at the PEZ Visitor Center at 35 Prindle Hill Rd. in Orange. Hamden-North Haven League of Women Voters co-presidents Mary Bigelow and Miriam Brody and Elona Vaisnys, membership co-chair, were among them.
PEZ was invented in Austria in 1927 as a breath mint for adults. The name came from the German word for peppermint, “Pfeffermintz”, taking the first and last letters and a vowel from the middle.
PEZ established a subsidiary in New York in 1952 and began designing dispensers that would appeal to children. Appeal they did, to judge by the delighted League leaders who remembered PEZ dispensers they collected and traded years ago.
The visitor center has a huge collection of PEZ dispensers; one dispenser with a donkey's head is expected to fetch $12,000 to $15,000 at an upcoming auction. That piece of information got everyone trying to remember what happened to all their dispensers.
PEZs are sold in 60 countries. The PEZ factory in Orange—opened in 1974--supplies the US and Canadian markets. The PEZ Visitor Center opened last December.
The League leaders, decked out in hairnets, watched as sugar plus flavoring, compressed by 3,000 pounds of pressure turned into PEZs. “Who says League members don’t have fun!” said a League leader sampling the freshly-made little PEZs as they popped out of the machine.
The League of Women Voters works to increase understanding of public policy issues and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. LWV encourages informed participation in government at all levels but neither supports nor opposes political candidates. In Connecticut, two of the 28 local Leagues are headed by men. To discuss joining the League, call203/248-8035, write firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.lwvct.org
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