FAIRFIELD — David Cinelli, 11, admitted he was a little nervous. Then he got to the top of the zip line tower during Candy Palooza at the Jelly Belly Visitor Center and was extremely anxious.
The Oakbrook Elementary School fifth-grader paid 10 tickets Sunday to go down the ride with his cousin, 14-year-old Colton Johnson of Vacaville.
“It will be fun, but I’m kind of nervous,” he said before making his ascent. His brother, 15-year-old Anthony, watched him climb the ladder with Colton and get ready. Then Colton slid down.
“He’ll be scared,” Anthony confided. “But if he chickens out, he has to give me tickets.”
He looked at the tower.
“David, don’t get scared now!” Anthony yelled.
After receiving some coaching from a Jelly Belly staff member, David slid down the rope, reaching the bottom with a slightly uneasy smile.
“I want to sit down,” he said, breathing deeply.
After a few moments, he admitted there were some second thoughts.
“ (At the top), I couldn’t do it. My legs were shaking,” he said. “It seemed high and felt weird. When I was going down, I thought the line was going to break. But it was fun.”
“It was awesome because of the speed,” he said.
The boys were among thousands of people attending the candy event of the season at Jelly Belly. Wale Akindele of Vallejo, working the information desk, said about 5,000 people attended each day of the weekend. He said more than 3,000 people took factory tours on Saturday and another 2,000-plus took tours Sunday – compared to the average 1,000 per weekend day. That led to self-guided tours, unlike the normal guided versions.
Outside, there were the attractions of a county fair – rides, fried foods, merchandise booths, a dunk tank, ponies and more.
Shurnae Burnell and Kevin Lee of Fairfield were there with their 16-month-old daughter, Leila. It was Burnell’s first visit since she took a school trip to Jelly Belly as a fourth-grader at Amy Blanc Elementary School in Fairfield.
“(Leila) really liked the pony ride,” Burnell said. “This is a budget-friendly event.”
Lee agreed that Leila liked the pony ride, but admitted the toddler was ready to get off the horse fairly quickly.
Maria Woolcock and her two children were there with Burnell and Lee. Five-year-old Emerie said she liked “going on the slide” the most, while 4-year-old Exavier said the train was the best.
He got agreement from 2-year-old D.J. Cameron of Fairfield, who insisted “the choo-choo” was his highlight – after watching his brother, 5-year-old Dylan, go down the zip line.
Dylan insisted he “won” because he rode the zip line.
That’s something that David Cinelli would probably affirm.
Sometimes, overcoming your fear can be the sweetest thing at Candy Palooza.
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.