David Klein, who considers himself “a real-life candyman,” is bringing Willy Wonka to life by offering a nationwide treasure hunt, where the winner will receive the keys to his candy factory.
In the scavenger hunt, participants will be searching for a golden ticket in the form of a necklace.
Klein explained that, “We are going to have the ultimate treasure hunt where the winner will be receiving a key to one of our candy factories.”
Entering the hunt costs $49.98. Paying that amount gives you a riddle to find the initial prize of $5,000.
Each state will hold a treasure hunt and participation is limited to 1,000 per state. Anyone who has purchased a ticket will be eligible to win one of Klein’s factories, according to USA Today.
Participants must have a Facebook account to participate, as that will be the main form of communication that Klein will use, according to the hunt’s website.
Along with full ownership of the factory, the winner will also receive access to a candy-making course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Klein’s knowledge and confectionary expertise, according to CNN.
“With The Gold Ticket treasure hunt, our goal is to get people out and about with their families,” Klein said during a press release. “Grandma and Grandpa can even join with the kids and grandkids. Take videos of your treasure hunt experiences for possible inclusion in our upcoming series.”
Some have questioned if the hunt is a scam and if Klein is just looking to make a “quick buck,” according to USA Today.
Klein responded to the scam allegations by writing in a Facebook post:
“We started this to have fun and to bring excitement to a world that is so troubled..So many people have responded favorably to what we are doing,” he wrote. “Unfortunately there have been a few haters that are attempting to take away the fun..I believe in freedom of speech but to be called a scam is so wrong...We will be removing members whose only intent is to take away any joy that this is giving everyone.”
Jelly Belly responded to confusion around the grand prize writing, “Jelly Belly Candy Company would like to take this opportunity to clear up the misconception that it is involved with a contest that purportedly offers a candy factory as its grand prize. Jelly Belly Candy Company, formerly known as Herman Goelitz Candy Company, has candy-making roots back to 1869. It was founded by Gustav Goelitz and remains family owned and operated today.”
Jelly Belly announced Klein as an “independent third party,” as he was associated with the company once but eventually left. Klein was one of the creators who invented the Jelly Belly jelly bean and created the name along with other “novel marketing ideas,” according to CNN.