The Yak'koli Candy Festival
The Yak'koli Candy Festival is an annual spectacle celebrated across all of Pact space, but nowhere it is it as bombastic in its birthplace: the county of Yak'koli in the Republic of Kajh-Tai, on Jhoutai.
Two kilometers west of Yak'kolithon, the Yak'koli Grand Expo spills out from its spaceport into a long, open-air plaza surrounded by dense buildings and populated by large stages and exhibitions. During the festival, even those sprawling plazas feel cramped amid the street vendors, games, circuses, and popups which fill the space, kept in check by the heavy presence of the quiet and polite city guard.
Lodging and amenities can be found beneath the expo, accessible by stair and elevator, but the design of the place is intended to keep visitors on the surface and engaged with the expo.
Rather than trying to contain this madness in the cliffside heart of Yak'kolithon, as it once was, or down in the caverns of Yak'kolithar as it was before that, the county holds this festival in a grand expo constructed kilometers from the edge of Yak'kolithon. It is staffed by locals and accessible by train, but leaves the citizenry well-removed from most distruptions.
For a sweet tooth of any intensity, the Yak'koli Expo is a must-visit, a candy Mecca of sugary wonders, playful sport, and intense contest between the finest confectioners Ethnis. Its little surprise that some confectioners transcend to divinity while creating their most elaborate works.
Each year, Yakkoli summons a reserve corp of deputized volunteers to staff the expo. These volunteers are grouped up with fulltime tigari and tasked with non-serious offenses like littering and loitering, while also serving as eyes and ears for the Tigari, who engage serious offenders and give demerits and fines.
Unfortunately, the deputies are the system's weak spot, as well. If you're a local, odds are that your friend's cousin's spouse is a deputy, but he's also a notorious party fiend, and looks the other way whenever anyone is caught with drugs—so long as they share.
Thankfully, deputy selection is rigorous, and true offenders—the sadistic and the indulgent—are weeded out with relative ease. Beyond that... well, a little bit of petty crime is just a part of the fun.
Above: While tigari keep their face bare, deputies wear beaded basket helms. This makes it difficult to coordinate with outsiders for illicit activity, and lends the deputies an air of authority.
Before the Kataimani discovered Amberchrys' Psiotronic applications, it was mostly seen as a source of sweetener—a curiosity and luxury exported by Yak'kolithar to travelers.
A longstanding tradition of locals and tourists is Candy Pulling, which involves making candy from raw Amberchrys. Though just about every resident of Yak'kolithar has taken part in this tradition during the yearly candy festival, it originally began as a tradition among explorers of the Yak'kolithar Amberge Complex, and later among the miners who lived within.
The rattling freight elevator descended through tunnels both natural and bored on route to the quarry. Goh'hman, one of the more veteran miners, nudged Asterj with his elbow and offered "Candy?"
Asterj shook his head, though one of the other miners took Goh'hman up on his offer, and soon the group was passing around the paper bag of confections.
"What's the big deal with the candy anyway," Asterj asked. "Seems like everyone in the city eats it."
Goh'hman's dense jowels wobbled heavily over the muscular flexations of his jaw as he crunched his way through a mouthful of candy. He paused, reaching into his mouth to dig a clod of candy out from his molars before nodding to the newcomer.
"You mean aside from it being tasty? It's part of our heritage. This mine started out as more of a curiosity, a source for good sugar. The only reason a city even took hold here is because of Amberchrys candy."
"Wait... all the candy is made from Amberchrys?"
Got your trowel? At some point during our shift we'll scrape up a big chunk of Amberchrys. Bigger than that, or you're going to be kicking yourself later. Yeah, there you go. Nobody finishes their first day without making their own pouch of candy.