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The Sweet Taste of Summer

(ARA) - Summer. The beach, the mountains, summer camp, block parties -- it's the time of year when we relax, seek refuge from the stress of school and work, and indulge in our favorite pastimes.

Summer is also a time when some of our best memories and traditions are formed. Candy has always been a part of this -- from saltwater taffy at the boardwalk to s'mores at the campsite.

The National Confectioners Association (NCA) is encouraging Americans to think of new and exciting ways to include candy in their summer plans. "Candy adds an extra layer of fun to any occasion," says Larry Graham, president of the NCA. "Make the time you spend with friends and family sweeter by introducing candy into your summer activities."

So whether you'll be traveling, entertaining or simply relaxing in the backyard this summer, consider introducing the following candy concoctions and concepts -- and make new memories and traditions in the process.

Candy Cocktails

Gummy animals, like bears, worms and fish, make unique (and tasty) conversation pieces when placed on the rim of a cocktail glass. Or, throw a few colorful gummy bears on a toothpick and add them to a green apple martini or a margarita to brighten up a party.

Candy Flavored Ice Cream

Invite your friends and neighbors over for an ice cream party one hot afternoon. If you're making your own ice cream, why not create a bold new flavor by asking guests to mix in pieces of their favorite candies -- from chocolate to mints to marshmallows? If you're using store-bought ice cream, make sure to have all your guests' favorite candy toppings available.

Candy Couture

Looking for the perfect accessories to wear to the cocktail or ice cream parties? Adults and kids alike can enhance their looks with candy glasses, bracelets, rings and necklaces. Bring some to dress up your friends for twice the fun.

Candy Karma

"Candy Karma" is the concept that when you do something sweet for others, something sweet will come back to you in return. To ensure your "Candy Karma," bring your host or hostess the gift of a refreshing candy or chocolate that reflects the season -- mango, coconut or lemon. Or leave a bowl of confections by your front door for hungry visitors.

For more information about how candy can sweeten up your summer, visit www.candyusa.org.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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