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Tis' the Season

Candy maker Baze to make candy
at ‘Light Up La Grange’

He will set up shop at CityPlace during the Dec. 3 event

LA GRANGE, Ky. (December 2016) – To say Zane Baze is an expert at candy making is not an exaggeration. His candy cane creations are the hit of any party or large get-together.
Along with family members, Baze often plays host to holiday events showing others how to make candy canes the old fashioned way.
“My in-laws, Barbara and Roger Claus, began making candy canes 40 years ago,” said Baze, who has been making the delicious confection for at least 25 years.
For his in-laws, whose surname really is Claus, it was a family tradition. Sandy Baze, Zane’s wife, was in Girl Scouts as a young girl, and her mother was Scout Leader. For certain badges, the troop could create its own badges. Her troop made a batch of candy canes from a recipe one of the other Girl Scout leaders had.

Photo by Helen E. McKinney

This reindeer was created by Elizabeth Kirkwood and is available for sale at Gallery 104.

“Our badge was a candy cane,” she said. “It was so much fun.” Since that time, Sandy grew up with the tradition of “having big family Christmas parties for family and friends.”
Baze will be making candy canes at CityPlace during “Light Up La Grange” on Saturday, Dec. 3, beginning at 4 p.m. This is just one of many special events happening around La Grange to mark the holiday season from 4-9 p.m. that day.
Originally from Los Angeles, Baze moved to Buckner, Ky., almost 10 years ago. “The main reason was because we wanted a better lifestyle for our kids,” he said.
Wanting to share his candy cane making skills, Baze began his own company and called it Just Be Claus. Each candy cane batch is made from scratch, he said, beginning with three basic ingredients: five pounds of sugar, corn syrup and water. The process involves cooking the mixture to a specific temperature, 285 degrees, or the soft-crack stage. Next, it is poured out onto a marble slab to cool.
The next step is to get others involved in the process “to see how it is done,” Baze said. After the cooling process, red and green coloring are added.
When the candy reaches 180 degrees “you can pull it like taffy. Then the flavor can be added. The more you pull it, you get that white shimmering color.”
After reaching a certain consistency, he builds it into a brick shape and stripes the block. It is then ready to extrude and cut, he said.
The cooking process takes approximately 45 minutes, and then 20 minutes to color, pull and flavor, he said. 
“When I give it to kids, it’s pliable. But it hardens in minutes.” That’s when the real fun begins. Participants get into the action by shaping their own candy, fully enjoying the hands-on experience.
Whenever Baze is hosting an event, such as a holiday party or an event for schools or churches, he likes to ask the children to “show me your best candy cane.” The results put a smile on everyone’s faces, especially those making the candy.
This special Candy Cane Making is sponsored by PNC Bank. Every 45 minutes a batch will be ready for candy cane making, said Karen Eldridge, head of La Grange Crossroads District, the Main Street Program that sponsors on this event.
The annual lighting up of the town will take place at 6 p.m. from the Oldham County Courthouse lawn by Santa and Mayor Joe Davenport. For the past several years, Light Up La Grange has had a Polar Express theme, but not this year, said Eldridge.
Activities will take place on the Courthouse Square, Walnut Street, Second Street and Main Street, and the La Grange Railroad Museum, which will have rail cars decorated and open for tours. Restaurants and businesses will be open late. Donna Sabo of Hometown Pizza is the local merchant who organizes this event, said Eldridge.
Visitors to Light Up La Grange will find strolling carolers from the Louisville Chorus, hear music from the Oldham County Community Band at the Community Center, and special music from 7-9 p.m. from Heath and Molly at the La Grange Community Center, 307 W. Jefferson St. The City is helping sponsor the latter entertainment, said Eldridge.   
Light Up La Grange will include a Christmas Tree Scavenger Hunt this year, Eldridge said. “Clues will be hidden in trees and a winner announced on the 23rd. Coca Cola has donated a bike for the winner.”
The trees have been decorated by local businesses, and organizations and will be voted on as well. The winner will receive $200 cash. “The winning family gets pizza for a month from Hometown Pizza. This event is sponsored by Humana,” she said.   
Last year, organizers had decided to change the hours for Light Up by extending the time, which “worked out wonderfully,” said Eldridge. “We had more people than we’ve had in a while.”
Earlier that same day, the Oldham County History Center will kick off festivities with Breakfast with the Grinch from 9-11 a.m. For $5 per person, visitors can enjoy juice, coffee and muffins, get their pictures made with the Grinch, watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” movie and participate in several different children’s activities and crafts inside the Rob Morris Educational Building, 207 W. Jefferson St.

The Oldham County History Center will also be holding a Colonial Williamsburg Centerpiece Workshop from 1-3 p.m. on Dec. 3 in the same location. Cost is $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Centerpiece forms and greenery provided. Participants must bring their own fruit and pre-register by calling (502) 222-0826.

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