Billy Heaton Whitworth and his wife Agnes opened Heaton’s Karmel Korn on the Boardwalk near Wicomico Street in 1944. Specializing in saltwater taffy and caramel popcorn, Heaton’s changed both its name and its menu when son-in-law Fred King purchased the business from Agnes after Billy’s death in 1953. Cotton candy, snow balls and candy apples were added and a Boardwalk landmark — King’s Cotton Candy — was born.
The business has undergone a few changes in the past 70 years. Pretzels and funnel cake have replaced the caramel popcorn and inflation has raised the cost of cotton candy from the original 15 cent a serving. The season has increased as well. It no longer begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day as it did in 1944.
Today Fred’s son Danny runs the business and his kids often work with him making King’s Cotton Candy a four-generation Ocean City tradition.
Photo courtesy of Danny King