On Thursday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m., local artist Jennifer Vesper received her first public reviews on her giant candy ornament—a monument to hundreds of hours of sweet, artistic sacrifice—as the wrapping paper covering the magical Holiday Candy Windows was removed!
According to a press release from Macy’s: “The unveiling of Holiday Candy Windows is a tradition that dates back to the early 1970s and marks the official kick-off celebration of the holiday season in Salt Lake City. This local tradition originated at the ZCMI Center in the 1970s. Since 2013, Macy’s at City Creek Center has sponsored this community tradition by featuring local artists who create and install oversized, handcrafted ornaments decked out with hundreds of pounds of candy. Macy’s provided the selected local artists with supplies, including a 42 inch styrofoam ball, to create a holiday-themed ornament.”
Join The Morgan County News as event is reported through Vesper’s eyes and experiences.
“The few days leading up to the event were chaos. I was still finishing my last few pieces and trying to cram in all the media requests,” Vesper begins. “We were interviewed by ABC, CBS, KSL, the Deseret News and many others.”
Vesper and her fellow artists—Neil Brown, Geri Cordova, Abigail Hays, Brian Johnson and Jeff Rollo—were the media celebrities for the day. She continued “There will be a bigger piece on myself and Jeff Rollo [How appropriate that a man with the last name Rollo design a giant candy ornament, but the big questions has to be ‘Did he use Rolo candies on his ornament?”] on the PBS website on Nov. 24.
“For this piece, they came to my house early on and shot footage and then we did a few bits onsite and they were there for the unveiling as well,” Vesper reported, “I am used to being the reporter, with plenty of time to prepare….not the one on the other side, so that was a little bit tough for me. I felt like I lost 10 IQ points every time the camera was on me. It was like when you have a fight and 20 minutes after it’s all said and done you think of the perfect things to say.”
Vesper’s cheery face appeared on several local news broadcasts in the days surrounding the grand unveiling, and she represented Morgan as well with her words as she did her artistic style.
“The day of the unveiling was a relief,” Vesper recalled, “All I could do was pray that the ornament would still be in one piece when that packaging came off the windows. We arrived at Macy’s City Creek and the entire stretch of Main Street had been closed off for the festivities. There was face painting and frivolity in the store prior to the unveiling, and the Davis High Jazz band and choir performed right before the countdown.
“Special guests were introduced from the Make-A-Wish foundation, and we were each placed with a child from the program to assist us with the reveal,” shared Vesper. “I fell in love with Abbie the second I met her. She was a beautiful 6-year-old girl whose wish was to go to Disney World.” The Make-A-Wish Foundation “grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.”
“As we waited in front of the window, I asked her what candy was her favorite and she said ‘Reeses.’ Her mom told me she was shy, and I assured her that I am, too, which made her relax a little,” continued Vesper.
Vesper describes the windows. “Each window was wrapped like a present. It was actually gift-wrapped cardboard pieces that were velcroed to the window frames. I told Abbie to take a peek under the gift-wrapped cardboard to see if she could get glimpse of Santa.
“Then they started the countdown, the longest five seconds ever, and we tore off the packaging to reveal our creations. The kids smiled, and each wanted to have their picture taken with us. I was teary eyed the whole night,” Vesper concluded. “It was a truly magical evening and I feel blessed to have been a part of it.
“Creating a Macy’s ornament has been on my bucket list and it feels so wonderful to have my wish granted,” Vesper explained. “I only hope that each of these precious children I met tonight can have their wishes come true.”
For every letter to Santa that is placed in the mailboxes at Macy’s or sent online at macys.com/believe, the store “will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish for every letter collected, up to $1 million.”
“My hope,” Vesper urged, “is that everyone in Utah, and beyond, will have their kids write a letter to the big guy to make sure all these wishes can be granted.”.
To view the Macy’s Candy Windows, travel to Macy’s at City Creek Shopping Center, 21 South Main Street in Salt Lake City. Be sure to check out the newly choreographed holiday fire fountain shows at the Richards Court by Nordstrom!