Inside Pete’s Sweets bakery of the Wonka themed experience decked out from top to bottom.
Reminder Publishing submitted photo

EAST LONGMEADOW — From April 24 through May 4, Pete’s Sweets presents its Wonka Themed Experience Chocolate Extravaganza, complete with lavish decorations, costumes and a themed menu.

Plus, customers can come into the shop, find five golden tickets and be entered to win a year’s worth of cupcakes.

Pete’s Sweets has been in business for 11 years specializing in custom cakes, decorative cookies and specialty cupcakes. Owner and operator Peter Gray transforms the bakery with every holiday he does. In between the holidays, Gray started coming up with different themes from a wizard week to a camping theme, mermaids under the sea and Alice in Wonderland theme.

“As a child growing up, I was someone that adored all things Willy Wonka,” Gray said. “What kid doesn’t dream about opening a chocolate factory and that’s what I did. I own a candy store/bakery now and we do these elaborate fun themes making it extra special and unique.” He continued, “It becomes a really fun thing to challenge my staff and myself. It’s a cool way to come together and do some interesting stuff.”

The Willy Wonka Themed Experience plays also in the fact that the St. Michael’s Players of East Longmeadow were putting on a production of “Willy Wonka Jr.” and Gray thought that would be a great theme to create. He spent almost a whole month and a half hand-wrapping giant sized candies, lollipops and gumdrops in his living room. The themed menu consists of a snozzberry fizzy lifting drink, edible teacups, chocolate items, rainbow cake slices with vanilla or chocolate buttercream and a big array of cupcakes. They have “Violet, You’re Turning Blue” cupcake that dyes your mouth blue, a golden goose egg red velvet, a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cupcake which comes in a golden wrapper with a little chocolate bar on top, buttercream frosted cookies, a cosmic brownie cookie with a thick ganache icing, cotton candy cones and miniature cupcakes.

Springfield resident Stefanie Rowe said when she stepped into the bakery, it brought her right back to when she was little and watched the original “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” She tried the “Violet, You’re Turning Blue” cupcake and it found it tasty.

“This was one of my favorite themes thus far and what a perfect theme for a dessert shop,” Rowe shared. “Pete goes above and beyond and puts so much attention to detail in all his decor.”

Enfield resident Jeanine Colón along with her husband Jerry and 9-year-old son Travie, made the trip to Pete’s Sweets. The shop was highly recommended around Easter time on their town Facebook forum so she started following the page and saw the fun themes that Gray had been planning. Colón decided to wait until the Wonka theme because her son recently finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and they watched the new Wonka movie. As soon as the family saw the shop they were blown away by all the decorations in the windows. When they walked in they were completely immersed as though they were actually in the Chocolate Factory.

“We absolutely loved the full experience,” Colón said. “Travie walked around in awe looking at everything and searching for the golden tickets which he eventually found all five. He would like to let Pete know that he is more than willing to dress up as an oompa loompa and eat delicious treats around the shop. We look forward to seeing what other great themes they come up with.”

Gray said, “I love seeing the look on everybody’s face when they come here. The main thing is seeing everybody enjoy it. It makes all the hard work of handcrafting these decorations worthwhile.”

Pete’s Sweets is located on 32 Shaker Rd. and is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Miasha Lee
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