It’s pretty hard to find someone who doesn’t like chocolate. So it’s no wonder that everyone attending Fairfax City’s Chocolate Lovers Festival will be in foodie paradise. And this year’s event, the 28th annual, should be no exception.
Slated for Friday, Jan. 31, from 6-8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 1, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 2, from noon-4 p.m., it offers everything from cupcakes to candy, fudge, cakes, cookies, ice cream and even a chocolate fountain.
“The Chocolate Lovers Festival is one of the City’s signature events and is enormously popular across our region,” said Fairfax Mayor David Meyer. “Many volunteers have worked countless hours over many months to prepare for this unique event. We are so appreciative of the hard work and dedication of the planning committee, our vendors and our loyal attendees for their support. And all proceeds are donated to worthwhile charitable programs in our community. No pun intended, but how sweet is that?”
The signature event is the Taste of Chocolate, where attendees purchase samples of delicious chocolate treats from two floors of vendors in Old Town Hall. There’s no Chocolate Challenge this year, but there’ll still be a silent auction featuring a wide variety of items donated by local businesses. It’s set for Sunday, Feb. 2, from noon-4 p.m. In addition, the LOVE sign will be in Old Town Square, all weekend, and the Washington Nationals’ racing presidents will visit Saturday, Feb. 1, from noon-2 p.m.
Overall, the festival offers many fun-filled activities for children and adults alike. Scheduled are magic, juggling, musical performances, face-painting, fairytales, a cake walk, fire-safety puppet show, Chocolate Caper mock trial, cupcake-decorating and open houses in historic buildings. All venues are handicap-accessible, but only certified service animals are allowed inside any event site.
Liquid Chocolate, Barbecue Lunch
The Jan. 31, Liquid Chocolate event goes from 6-8 p.m. and features an intriguing assortment of chocolate libations. It’ll be held inside a heated tent on Old Town Square’s upper parking lot, 3999 University Drive. And because it’s so much fun, it’ll return Saturday, Feb. 1, from 1-6 p.m. There’ll be chocolate beverages for all ages, including:
Milky Way chocolate-infused milk stout, served by Ornery Beer Co.; chocolate soda and milk, Twins Ace Hardware; chocolate-covered strawberry liquor, MurLarkey Distilled Spirits; dessert-wine pairing, The Wine House; chocolate stout, Chubby Squirrel Brewing Co.; chocolate milkshakes, Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers; chocolate-hazelnut milk stout, Caboose Brewing Co.; chocolate tea and cacao (chocolate) juice, River-Sea Chocolates; plus chocolate coffee and hot chocolate.
Also that Saturday, the Kiwanis Club of Fairfax will offer barbecue lunches and crafts vendors, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Fire Station 3, at 4081 University Drive.
Taste of Chocolate
The festival’s highlight, the Taste of Chocolate, will be held Feb. 1, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Feb. 2, from noon-4 p.m., in Old Town Hall, 3999 University Drive (corner of Main Street and University Drive). Strollers may be left on the front porch; a fully accessible entrance is at the door on Main Street.
Admission is free; visitors buy pogs for $1 each and then browse vendors’ tables to see the wide array of chocolate treats being offered. They purchase them with pogs and may buy as many pogs as they want from roaming volunteers in red aprons.
Heaven for chocolate lovers, the variety of goodies includes chocolate candies, bars, brownies, cakes and fudge, chocolate-covered strawberries and ice cream. And one of the biggest hits each year are the chocolate fountains into which customers may dip fruit, cream-filled doughnut holes or marshmallows.
The vendors will include: Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates, The Capital Candy Jar, Capitol Chocolate Fountains, Chocotenango, Confection Connection, Dave’s Candy Kitchen, El Ceibo/Diestro, The Dough Jar, Le Papiyon Chocolatier, Mike’s Fudge, Pacari Chocolate, River-Sea Chocolate, Sugar Mama’s Ice Cream, The Sweet Life Cakery and Veritas Artizen Chocolate.
Cake Walks and Cookbooks
Cake walks will be held Saturday, Feb. 1, from noon-4 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 2, from 1-4 p.m., in Old Town Square, but may be moved indoors if there’s inclement weather. Participants will have the chance to win cakes.
Chocolate Lovers Festival Cookbooks ($10) may be purchased at both the Kiwanis barbecue lunch and the Taste of Chocolate. Or get them at the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, 10209 Main St. (703-385-8414). Commemorative T-shirts will also be sold at the festival.
Golden Ticket Contest
The City of Fairfax Office of Economic Development and the Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring the Golden Ticket Contest. Inspired by the book and movie, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” three golden tickets will be hidden within 1,200 chocolate bars made by local chocolatier, Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates. Some 22 Old Town businesses (see list at https://fairfaxcityconnected.com/2019/12/16/goldenticket2020/ will sell the chocolate bars for $3 each, beginning Jan. 31. Lucky finders of the golden ticket will be rewarded with a Chocolate Lovers Gift Basket and a tour of the Cameron’s facility.
Each year, the Chocolate Lovers Festival Committee chooses a nonprofit, charitable organization to receive part of the festival proceeds. The honorees are entities that contribute to the common good and the community at large. This year, three recipients were selected: Fairfax Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Gracing Spaces and Food for Others.
Where to Park for Chocolate Festival
Free parking is available at the following locations, with handicapped parking offered at all sites:
Bank of America, 10440 Main St. (accessible from Route 236 and North Street).
City Hall, 10455 Armstrong St. (accessible from Route 123/Chain Bridge Road and George Mason Boulevard).
City of Fairfax Regional Library, 10360 North St. (accessible from University Drive and Old Lee Highway).
East Street parking lot (accessible from Route 236/Main Street and East Street).
Fairfax County Courthouse Garage B, 4400 Chain Bridge Road (accessible from Page Avenue).
Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, 10209 Main St.
Fire Station 3, 4081 University Drive.
Old Town Plaza, 3955 Chain Bridge Road (accessible from Route 123/Chain Bridge Road and University Drive).
Old Town Village (behind Pacer’s, 10427 North St.) Open at noon Saturday and all day Sunday; (accessible from University Drive).
Sager Avenue parking lot (accessible from Sager Avenue and University Drive).