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Popcorn, candy man provides sweets at Fayette County Fair

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Lori C. Padilla | for the Daily Courier
Joel Lonigro of Connellsville picks up his free sample of fruity popcorn at Annee’s Popcorn booth at the Fayette County Fair. Robert Arnold has been manning the booth at the fair and the Laurel Mall for more than 20 years. The company is named after his mother, who developed the popcorn and candy recipes.
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Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Popcorn and candy man Robert Arnold of Uniontown was busy handing out samples of homemade fruit-flavored and caramel-covered popcorn, peanut butter and chocolate fudge to customers who visited his booth at the Fayette County Fair.

Arnold has owned and operated Annee's Popcorn at the Laurel Mall for the past 25 years.

For 23 years, Arnold said his family has also operated a booth at the Fayette County Fair.

“It was my mother's business, but she passed away and our family has kept it going,” Arnold said. “My mom developed the popcorn and candy recipes that are very popular with our customers. We actually have customers who come to the fair every year to buy the candy.

“I remember selling the popcorn and candy to kids years ago,” he added. “Now, the kids are grown up and have kids of their own who are buying my candy. It really makes me feel my age.”

Through his candy business, Arnold said he has met almost everybody in Fayette County who either stopped at his store at the Laurel Mall or visited his booth at the fair.

“I know almost everyone in Fayette County because they have visited my booth and I have given them samples of candy to try,” he said. “Once they taste it, they usually stop at my booth before they leave the fair to take some home with them.”

Arnold said he has no idea how much popcorn and fudge he has sold this year, but he indicated that he has already given away more than 2,500 popcorn samples.

“Business at this year's fair seems to be better than last year because we haven't had much rain,” he said. “It rained a little bit on Saturday, but the weather has been really beautiful.”

Arnold said most people who visit his booth say they like the fruit-flavored popcorn.

“Once people taste it, they love it,” he said. “Each color has its own flavor, like apple, strawberry and candy. It takes a long time to make each batch because it includes about seven flavors. It's very time-consuming, but it's worth it.”

Cindy Ekas is a contributing writer.

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