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Students Attempt Record Taffy Pull


The evening sun reflected off the broken turquoise taffy on the pavement.

“It’s like glass – be careful!” advised one of the pastry students gathered for the annual Grand Rapids Community College Taffy Pull that took place Sept. 6.

What started as an experiment in mixing sugar and citric acid in 2009 has turned into an annual icebreaker challenge for new GRCC students. Local volunteers joined students and their families to take part in the excitement.

Last year’s pull stretched 275 feet of taffy and the group hoped to beat that record this year.

Chef Gilles Renusson, a professor in the GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Arts, organized the taffy pull and instructed those in attendance on how to stretch taffy.  The first attempt only reached 120 feet.

“You must stretch the taffy by constantly moving it in your hands so that it does not get cold on one side and harden,” he instructed.

Commenting on the uniqueness of this event, he added in a thick French accent, “It’s Friday night and everyone is watching football, but we are playing with sugar!”

The second attempt reached 210 feet. When asked why they didn’t beat last year’s record, Renusson answered, “I think we just have rookies. We need to move to Florida so we have more practicing time!”

Renusson is always looking for volunteers to help stretch the taffy in hopes of beating the previous year’s record. If interested in participating in next year’s pull, please contact Renusson at 234-3693 or 234-4007 for more information.

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