If there’s one thing almost every District denizen can agree on, it’s that chocolate is the most wonderful dessert in the world. Sweet, luscious, delicious; no one can argue the merits of this tasty treat.
And while it may be Lent, and beach season is right around the corner, one city is saying to heck with all that, and is throwing a celebration to honor all things chocolate this weekend. It’s a wonderful, two-day long event where guests can gorge on semi-sweet, bittersweet and dark.
What might this tasty event be called? It’s the Chocolate Lovers Festival, which is held annually at several locations in Old Town Fairfax. The event runs all day March 3-4, Saturday and Sunday, with both free and paid events, and, without a doubt, an abundance of chocolate.
This is the 20th year of the festival, which began all the way back in 1993 as a way to spur business and visitors to the historic part of Fairfax City, the several block stretch around the intersection of Route 236 and Chain Bridge Road. The event is always paired with charities, with proceeds this year going to the Arc of Northern Virginia, the Fairfax Library Foundation, and Main Street Child Development Center. So if you are typically racked with guilt by consuming too many chocolate calories, this time you can do it knowing your consumption is going to a good cause.
This year’s event kicks off on Saturday morning, with a pancake breakfast and bake sale at Fire Station 3, on University Drive. If you are attending with children, this is the place to start the day; breakfast is $6 ($4 for kids) and the Kiwanis Club is offering free face painting for children.
Also on Saturday is another fun treat for the kids. The Fairfax Bar Association is hosting the Chocolate Caper Mock Trial at the City Hall Annex. From 10:30-11:30 a.m., kids will get to watch and participate in a mock trial based around a chocolate-related fairytale, which will help teach kids the local justice system. Admission to the mock trial is free.
To go between the events, just like in years past, the city of Fairfax will be running its Chocolate Express, which takes attendees throughout the city (for free!) to whichever spot they’d like.
These first few events are just a prelude to the two main events, the first of which is the Taste of Chocolate, held in Old Town Hall, on University Avenue. For seven hours on Saturday, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., the bests chocolate makers in Northern Virginia will be serving up some of their tastiest treats.
Among the numerous companies that will be in the Hall are Ben & Xander’s Fudge Company, Dave’s Candy Kitchen, Fair Trade Winds and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Those are just a few of the dozen or so companies that will be offering bites. Admission to the event is free and tickets for tastes can be bought at dollar a piece.
Right down the street is the Chocolate Festival’s other signature event, the Chocolate Challenge and Silent Auction, where some of the area’s best chocolate sculptors (both professional and amateurs) will be presenting unique (and delicious) designs in a competition to be named the festival’s best chocolate designer, with the grand winner taking home $500.
The judges for this year’s competition are some of the biggest names in local cake-making, with Norman Davis and Zane Beg of The Sweet Life Cakery in Annandale, Sabrina Campbell of Occasionally Cake in Alexandria and of course, the mayor of Fairfax, Robert F. Lederer.
Admission to the event is $1, which allows you to vote in the “People’s Choice” category.
Both these events are also open Sunday, from noon- 4 p.m., with the winners of the chocolate competition announced at 2.
So this weekend, take the opportunity to indulge your sweet tooth. Because it’s always okay, once in a while, to forgot the calories, and just have a delicious day for the ages.
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