Chilly Over Chocolate

Chilly Over Chocolate

Annual Chocolate Lovers Festival attracts large crowds despite freezing weather.

From chocolate-covered strawberries and chocolate ice cream, to fudge cakes and creamy chocolate waterfalls, people indulged at the sinfully gluttonous Chocolate Lovers Festival in Old Town Fairfax.

The cold air outside added to the anticipation of what was inside Old Town Hall, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 3-4. The Taste of Chocolate — the festival's main event — caused a line that wrapped around the corner from University Drive onto Main Street. People huddled up in sub-freezing temperatures just for a taste of the warm, velvety chocolate that awaited inside. The packed crowd in Old Town Hall provided immediate warmth from the line outside, as did the hot fudge-covered strawberries found at several vendors' shops.

The Chocolate Challenge, another popular event at the festival, took place in the new City Hall building this year. The atrium connecting the new building from the existing building was filled with chocolate creations, varying from candy to cake. The challenge had fewer participants than in recent years, but the winning creations were top-notch. An aquarium-inspired chocolate structure and a simply-decorated chocolate cake with red hearts were some of the standouts. A Starbucks Coffee van was parked outside of City Hall, where employees served up samples of the company's new Cinnamon Dolce line of coffee drinks as visitors arrived and departed on the shuttle bus that transported folks between the main event venues. Leslie Herman, the city's special events coordinator, said about 1,700 people rode the "Chocolate Express" bus. This year's Taste of Chocolate also experienced record sales.

"All of the activities were very well-attended," she said.