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Fruitcake Presentation will mark the end of 2022 Steuben County Legislature

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Learn about the legend of the fruitcake

The last scheduled session of the county Legislature in 2022 also will be highlighted by the annual tradition of the Fruitcake Presentation.

It will come as no surprise Steuben County elected and civil officials take their work seriously and dedicate long hours to serving county residents. What may surprise Steuben locals is a traditional add to December legislative agendas dating back decades.

It seems in 1991 county Legislature Chairman Lynn Morse, R-Erwin was in the habit of selling fruitcakes for the Kiwanis.

Then-county Administrator Mark Alger was happy to support Kiwanis but notably un-fond of the red and green and gold fruit candies baked into the cakes, whose history dates back to ancient Egypt.

So in the spirit of an office Christmas party, Alger gave the fruitcake to the 1992 county Clerk of the Legislature Christine Kane. Kane was so moved by the spirit of the gesture she returned the favor – and the fruitcake – to Alger at a December party the next year.

He gave it away again the next year.

And for the next 30 years – with Monday’s recipient clouded in top secrecy — passing on the fruitcake has been a holiday celebration.

Long past its expiration date, the fruitcake has outlasted aluminum foil and been re-wrapped, frozen, refrozen, stored in cabinets, locked up behind bars, moved during the recent renovations to the County Office Building and almost forgotten.

It has been taken hostage and restored once the ransom was paid. It has served time in the county Jail. Former

recipient Department of Social Services Commissioner Kathryn Muller was escorted by “Men In Black” when the time came to pass it on.

Then-county Deputy Administrator Jack Wheeler compiled a video honoring the thoroughly inedible baked goods.

Rumor has it, it haunts dreams at this time of the year.

Its fate is now in the hands of the current awardee Public Safety Director Tim Marshall.

And he’s not talking.

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