Jelly Belly’s founder created a Willy Wonka-style contest with a candy factory as the grand prize. The website for tickets was overwhelmed, but is now working again.

  • An online site for a Willy Wonka-like competition from the founder of Jelly Belly was overwhelmed by people trying to buy a $US50 golden ticket shortly after it was announced.
  • David Klein, the original developer of The Jelly Belly brand who’s sometimes referred to as “The Candyman,” launched a nationwide treasure hunt before he officially retires from the business – with a candy factory as the grand prize.
  • The contest site, which was crashing due to high traffic, was functioning again on Wednesday.
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The website for a competition reminiscent of the contest in the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was overwhelmed by people looking to buy a $US50 golden ticket. After crashing, the website was working again as of Wednesday.

The site,, ran into issues as those looking to participate in a Willy Wonka-style competition hosted by the founder of Jelly Belly tried to select and purchase a ticket for the contest in their particular state. ABC7 News in the Bay Area reported on Tuesday that “the site constantly crashes and people have had issues when they are trying to buy” their tickets.

The level of interest in the novel contest makes sense — it’s an unusual and headline-grabbing concept that leans into people’s nostalgia for “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” It also takes place outside, offering those looking for a new activity something to do while many traditional entertainment options remain closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Jelly Belly founder David Klein, who’s sometimes referred to as “The Candyman” and now runs a new candy company called Spectrum Confections, is launching a nationwide treasure hunt before he officially retires. Klein is no longer involved with Jelly Belly, which released a statement amid interest in the contest to highlight that it is not involved in the treasure hunt in any way, Fox 8 reported on Wednesday.

The winner is expected to receive an expense-paid trip to one of Klein’s candy factories, an education to a candy-making university, and the grand prize: a factory “key.”

“We’re gonna have the ultimate treasure hunt where the winner will be receiving a key — a key to one of our candy factories,” he said in a video.

Those who participate will get a riddle regarding the location of where “gold style tickets will be hidden in the form of necklaces,” according to the contest’s press release. Treasure hunts will be set up on a state-by-state basis, and first clue is set to be unveiled on September 30 in Georgia.

Each state is limited to 1,000 participants and has one golden ticket.

“With The Gold Ticket Treasure hunt, our goal is to get people out and about with their families. Grandma and Grandpa can even join with the kids and grandkids,” Klein said.