If you're a chocolate lover, then the place for you this weekend is Fairfax City's 2014 Chocolate Lover's Festival in downtown.
Spread out over two days this Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 1 and 2 are a wealth of activities, tastings, tours and more, all centered on that magically wonderful food called chocolate.
There's the Taste of Chocolate, in which vendors from around Northern Virginia offer delectable spreads of their chocolate creations for sampling, the Chocolate Challenge in which judges jury the most unique creations from amateur and professional bakers and chefs alike, chocolate-themed storytimes at the library, the famed Chocolate Caper Mock Trial, puppet shows, face-painting, music, the "So You Think You're Smarter Than a Lawyer?" game, and much more.
If the thought of all that indulgent chocolate makes you feel a bit guilty, here's one thought to help soften the blow—each year, the chocolate festival chooses one area nonprofit organization or charity to donate the proceeds to. This year, the beneficiary is Best Buddies Virginia, a program that provides opportunities for one-on-one, mutually enriching friendships for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. Funding will support the George Mason University Best Buddies chapter, a collaborative community-based initiative operated in partnership with The Mason LIFE Program, a post-secondary program for young adults with IDD who desire a university experience.
This year's "celebrity" judges for the Chocolate Challenge include Fairfax City Mayor Scott Silverthorne, Sabrina Campbell of Occasionally Cake, and Dean Thomas Prohaska of George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services.
Vendors in this year's Taste of Chocolate are:
- BaTer Chocolates
- C & D Sweets
- Cakes by Shelby
- Cameron's Coffee & Chocolate
- Capitol Chocolate Fountains
- Cocoa Vienna
- Confection Connection
- Dave's Candy Kitchen
- El Ceibo/Bolivia
- Extreme Ice Cream
- Fair Trade Winds
- Fluffy Thoughts Cakes
- Mike's Fudge
- Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
- Sugar Mama's
- Virginia Chocolate Company
- Watergate Pastry
See a description of events and schedule below, and watch video highlights from last year's festival, courtesy of Cityscreen-12, above.
SHUTTLE SERVICE: Park downtown and the "Chocolate Express" shuttles will take you from one event location to the next downtown so you can enjoy all aspects of the festival. The shuttle will operate between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, FEB. 1:
8 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Kiwanis Club Pancake Breakfast & Bake Sale. Join the Kiwanis Club of Fairfax for their Chocolate Lovers Pancake Breakfast of pancakes (regular and chocolate chip), sausage, coffee, juice and milk. $6 per adult, $4 for children ages 4-10. Ages 3 and younger are free. Face-painting for $2 per child offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fire Station 3, 4081 University Dr.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Taste of Chocolate. Surround yourself with hundreds of the finest chocolate sensations area confectioners have to offer. Items to purchase include cakes, candies, brownies, fudge, ice cream and other delicious concoctions. Purchase "pogs" for $1 each and trade them for chocolate treats at each vendor's station. Last guests admitted at 4:30 p.m. Old Town Hall, 3999 University Dr. at Main Street. Click here for a downloadable program.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Chocolate Challenge & Silent Auction. See displays of chocolate cakes, cupcakes and sculptures by professionals and amateurs alike, then join the judges in selecting the "People's Choice" winner. Donated cakes and other items will be open for silent auction bidding through 2:30 p.m. Sunday. This year's judges are Sabrina Campbell of Occasionally Cake, Dean Thomas Prohaska of George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services, and Fairfax City Mayor Scott Silverthorne. $1 admission. Nutrition Kitchen, 3950 University Dr.
10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Chocolate Caper Mock Trial. The Fairfax Bar Association will hold a mock trial based on a children's fairy tale to help introduce the concept of the justice system to children and adults in a fun way. Free. Fairfax Court House, 4000 Chain Bridge Road.
11 a.m.: Cody & BJ Musical Performance. Enjoy a high-energy, interactive children's musical show from this duo. Their original music is written "to inspire people of all ages to contribute to making the world a better place and to give back to society and Mother Earth." Free. City of Fairfax Regional Library, 10360 North St.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Harley "Eye Candy" Photos. Bring your camera and take a picture seated atop a Harley Davidson motorcycle, courtesy of the Fairfax Harley Owners Group. Weather permitting. City of Fairfax Regional Library, 10360 North St.
11:45 a.m.: So You Think You're Smarter Than a Lawyer? Play a legal game against a lawyer. Free. Fairfax Court House, 4000 Chain Bridge Road.
12:30 p.m.: Fire Safety Puppet Show. Singing puppets will teach children fire safety, courtesy of the City of Fairfax Fire Department. Free. City of Fairfax Regional Library, 10360 North St.
2-3 p.m.: Chocolate-Covered Fairy Tales. Children of all ages can join award-winning storyteller Gary Lloyd as he retells the classics. Free. City of Fairfax Regional Library, 10360 North St.
3:30 p.m.: See Jane Sing. "See Jane Sing" is one of Vienna Falls' newest and most energetic quartets. Free. City of Fairfax Regional Library, 10360 North St.
7-9 p.m.: Chocolate Movie Night. A new feature of the 2014 Chocolate Lover's Festival! Bring the whole family to watch the original version of the beloved film Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory—which wouldn't be the same without real Golden Tickets! Purchase golden tickets for $3 each for a chance at winning prizes. Tickets to the movie are $3 each and come with one Golden Ticket. Tickets are available in advance at City Hall in room 123, at the Green Acres Center, and at the Sherwood Community Center. Sponsored by the Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce. See the movie at the Sherwood Community Center, 3740 Old Lee Hwy.
SUNDAY, FEB. 2:
12-4 p.m.: Chocolate Challenge & Silent Auction. See full description above. $1 admission per adult. Nutrition Kitchen, 3950 University Dr.
12-4 p.m.: Taste of Chocolate. See full description above. Admission to the last guests is at 3:30 p.m. Old Town Hall, 3999 University Dr. at Main Street. Click here for a downloadable program.
12:30 p.m.: Fire Safety Puppet Show. See full description above. Free. City of Fairfax Regional Library, 10360 North St.
2-3 p.m.: Animal Ambassadors, "Journey To the Jungle." Journey to the fascinating world of tropical rain forests and be introduced to exciting live reptiles and amphibians (snakes and toads), mammals (kinkajou, fennec fox, chinchilla or a coatimunti), invertebrates (giant African millipedes, scorpions, tarantula or Madagascar hissing cockroach) or birds (parrots, macaws or cockatoos). Find out how we rely on rainforests for medicines, oxygen and products including chocolate.
3:30-4:15 p.m.: Magic With Turley. Check out one of the area's best-known and most popular family entertainers. Turley appeals to all ages. He has appeared on NBC's Today Show and has been featured in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. Free. City of Fairfax Regional Library, 10360 North St.
OPEN HOUSES, EXHIBITS & TOURS:
Fairfax Museum & Visitors Center, 10209 Main St. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
Legato School, Rte. 123/Chain Bridge Road between Judicial Drive and Sager Avenue. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 12-4 p.m. Sunday.
Ratcliffe-Allison House, 10386 Main St. Open 12-4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
Ford House, 3977 Chain Bridge Road. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday only.
TELL US - What are your favorite aspects of the Chocolate Lover's Festival each year? Share in the comments below.
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