Jelly Belly founder announces dates for nationwide ‘gold ticket’ treasure hunt

David Klein is a modern day Willy Wonka.

The 74-year-old businessman is the founder of Jelly Belly jelly beans and wants to share a bit of his sweet life with multiple lucky winners.

According to a press release, Klein and his partner have been traveling across the U.S., hiding “gold-style tickets in the form of necklaces” in different places. The places they choose all have some sort of interesting story that sparked their interests.

Each necklace includes a unique code that, when verified, guarantees $5,000 in winnings.

People in each state will have a chance to enter a treasure hunt contest to find the special necklaces. Each entry costs $50.

After registering for the treasure hunt, participants in each hunt will receive more details about the location of the necklaces and a riddle to help them figure out the hiding spot.

Klein said there is one dog tag-style gold colored necklace inscribed with “THE GOLD TICKET” and a code in each state. Some necklaces might be buried but will not be deeper than what can be easily dug up with a garden shovel.

Everyone who registers for the treasure hunts will be entered to win the grand prize: a candy factory. An all-expenses paid trip to a candy-making university and the cost of tuition at the school are also included in the grand prize.

Here are the newly announced start dates for contests in multiple states:

  • Sept. 30 Georgia
  • Oct. 2 Virginia
  • Oct. 8 Tennessee
  • Oct. 9 West Virginia
  • Oct. 14 North Carolina
  • Oct. 16 Kentucky
  • Oct. 17 Delaware
  • Oct. 17 Maine
  • Oct. 17 Minnesota
  • Oct. 17 Rhode Island
  • Oct. 20 South Carolina
  • Oct. 21 Alabama
  • Oct. 23 Florida
  • Oct. 24 Connecticut
  • Oct. 24 Maryland
  • Oct. 24 Michigan
  • Oct. 24 North Dakota
  • Oct. 24 Washington
  • Oct. 24 Vermont
  • Oct. 29 Iowa
  • Oct. 29 New Jersey
  • Oct. 29 Oregon
  • Oct. 29 Wyoming
  • Nov. 7 Idaho
  • Nov. 7 Montana
  • Nov. 7 New Hampshire
  • Nov. 7 New York
  • Nov. 7 Pennsylvania
  • Nov. 7 Wisconsin
  • Nov. 14 Massachusetts
  • Nov. 14 South Dakota
  • Nov. 21 California

Contests in other states will be announced soon.

Each treasure hunt has a limit of 1,000 participants.

Tickets in Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Washington, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have already sold out.

While Klein and his business partner sold their share of the Jelly Belly business in 1980, just four years after creating the famed candy, the confectioner maintained some of his candy factories. Klein and the partner agreed to receive $10,000 a month for 20 years in exchange for the Jelly Belly trademark, a decision Klein said he immediately regretted because it cut his candy reign short.

Klein said the treasure hunt contest is a way to have fun before he retires and to give back to everyone who loves the candy industry as much as he does.

Read more about Klein at the Los Angeles Times and see more contest details here.