One Tank Trip: DJ Flickers Candles at Kutztown Folk Festival

 

Blueberry, apple and cherry. Fake, fake and fake. Up close, you can see the wick, but close your eyes, take a whiff, and you might not know the difference.

Jeffrey Bartos and his wife, Donna, are the D and the J of DJ Flickers Candles, also known as the original faker bakers. They make and sell candles that look and smell like food.

"You just walk by and you will smell it," Jeffrey said. "I tease the food vendors: 'Well, I make them hungry, you ought to pay for some of my booth,' but they never do."

That booth is in the Neighborhood House, under cover at the Kutztown Folk Festival, where you'll see how the candles are made. Most of them anyway.

"We actually make everything right here," Jeffrey said. "There are still some things we won't show. She won't show you how to make the pie shells."

That's a trade secret. Their signature pie candles take three days to make. You have to do them in layers. The scraps, leftover wax, are used to make muffins.

On Wednesday, Jeffrey was making a blue raspberry martini, trading in the baker part for bartender.

Getting the right scent is paramount. The peach margarita is Jeffrey's favorite.

"Our peach comes from the state of Washington, but it's the best," he said. "[It's] the only fragrance I'll buy them from. They have the best peach fragrance I've ever smelled."

It's that attention to detail that's kept the couple in business for 25 years. In all that time, he's gathered a few stories from the road. He said he used to have little signs that said, "please don't poke or pick". Pretty self-explanatory, and you'd think that would be enough.

If you touch the gel, you'll leave your fingerprint behind, but apparently some just couldn't resist, like the waffle candles that really look and smell like Eggos.

"Well, about 15 years ago, we caught a guy licking it, and since then, I probably caught at least a dozen lickers," Jeffrey said.

So there are new signs. No poking, no picking, no licking.