Cupcakes and Candies and Cookies, Oh, My!

Cupcakes and Candies and Cookies, Oh, My!

Fairfax City Chocolate Lovers Festival is Feb. 2-4.

Jessica Ostrowski-Wright (left) and Anh Pham enjoy, respectively, a chocolate hazelnut truffle drink and a cherry chocolate stout beer at 2023’s Liquid Chocolate.

Jessica Ostrowski-Wright (left) and Anh Pham enjoy, respectively, a chocolate hazelnut truffle drink and a cherry chocolate stout beer at 2023’s Liquid Chocolate.

Grab your tastebuds and head to Fairfax City – it’s almost time for the 30th annual Chocolate Lovers Festival. Held in the City’s Old Town area, it features chocolate in nearly every form imaginable – candies, cupcakes, ice cream, fudge, cookies, cakes and chocolate fountains – as well as adult beverages flavored with chocolate.

This three-day extravaganza of chocolate deliciousness is set for Friday, Feb. 2, from 6-8 p.m., and continues Saturday, Feb. 3, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 4, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Taste of Chocolate opens at noon. A full slate of activities is planned for all ages, and every event location is accessible.

“The Chocolate Lovers Festival adds a bright spot on our calendar in the cold days of winter,” said Fairfax Mayor Catherine Read. “Residents, visitors and participating vendors come together to celebrate chocolate and community. It’s always a sweet way to kick off a new year here in Fairfax City.”

Leon Cui licks the chocolate off his lips from a strawberry covered in chocolate at last year’s festival. 


The signature event is the Taste of Chocolate, where attendees purchase samples of mouthwatering, chocolate treats from two floors of vendors in Old Town Hall. 

And since this year’s festival will have a circus theme, a fun new addition will be roaming performers from Cirque de Sacrilosa. Stilt walkers, jugglers and other entertainers will break into impromptu performances throughout the downtown festival venues.
Children’s entertainers Groovy Nate, Jonathan Austin, Mr. Lilo, KayDee Puppets and a balloon artist will delight children with their talents, including magic, juggling and singing. There’ll also be cake walks, cupcake-decorating, make-and-take crafts and a mock trial involving Little Miss Muffet.

And adults may attend history-of-chocolate tours, as well as open houses in historic buildings, such as the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center and the Ratcliffe-Allison-Pozer House. All festival venues are handicap-accessible, but only certified service animals are allowed inside any event site. 

For specific times, locations and other details of all festival activities, see the Schedule of Events at

Besides at Old Town Hall and Old Town Square, activities will also take place at the nearby Fairfax Regional Library, Fairfax Ace Hardware and the historic courthouse.

All parking is free and accessible; to learn where it is, go to

Liquid Chocolate 

Featuring an exciting assortment of chocolate libations, this year’s chocolate festivities kick off Friday, Feb. 2, from 6-8 p.m., with Liquid Chocolate. It’ll be held inside a heated tent at Old Town Square, 10415 North St. And because it’s so much fun, it’ll return Saturday, Feb. 3, from noon-5 p.m. 

There’ll be beverages for all ages, ranging from offerings such as chocolate soda, hot chocolate and milkshakes for children to chocolate wines, chocolate beers and dessert wine pairings for adults. Admission is free; in past years, alcohol tastings have cost $2 each, non-alcohol tastings, $1 each. 

This year’s participating businesses are Chubby Squirrel Brewing Co., Commonwealth Brewing Co., Fairfax Ace Hardware, Inside Scoop, MurLarkey Distillery, Ornery Beer Co., Scrummy Gorgeous and The Wine House.

* Then afterward, people may head to the Sherwood Center at 3740 Blenheim Blvd. to enjoy musical entertainment. There, the Bonita Lestina Performance Series will present Kadencia – Afro-Puerto Rican music – at 8 p.m. Friday.

Taste of Chocolate

The festival’s centerpiece, the Taste of Chocolate, will be held Saturday, Feb. 3, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 4, from noon-4 p.m., in Old Town Hall, 3999 University Drive, at the corner of Main Street and University Drive. Strollers may be left on the front porch; an ADA ramp is on the building’s side.

Admission is free, and the event is on both floors. 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 the pogs and may buy as many pogs as they want from roaming volunteers in red aprons.

The large 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 bite-sized treats such as fruit, doughnut holes or marshmallows.

This year’s vendors will be: Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates, Capital Candy Jar, Capitol Chocolate Fountains, Chouquette Chocolates, Dilly Cakes, Great Harvest Bread, Le Papiyon Chocolateer, Mike’s Fudge, Mochi Donut by Food Fest, Mother Clusters, River-Sea Chocolates, SamiChakra LLC, Scrummy Gorgeous, Sugar Mama’s, The Sweet Life Cakery and Tysons Creamery.

Chocolate Festival Souvenirs

Chocolate Lovers Festival Cookbooks ($10) may be purchased at the Taste of Chocolate and at the Fairfax City Regional Library. Featured are recipes with chocolate as an ingredient in snacks, appetizers, main courses, soups, salads and, of course, desserts. Other festival souvenirs for sale at both places will include light-up pens, notepads and blinking safety lights. Both adult and youth sizes of long- and short-sleeved commemorative T-shirts, ranging in price from $5-$15, will also be sold.

Grant Recipients

Proceeds from the chocolate festival support many organizations, including Fairfax City’s Independence Day Celebration Committee, Kiwanis Club of Fairfax, Friends of the City of Fairfax Regional Library, and the Fairfax Bar Assn. Making things even sweeter, part of the proceeds is also donated to nonprofit, charitable entities that directly benefit City residents. This year’s recipients chosen by the Chocolate Lovers Festival Committee are:

FACETS - In 1988, Linda Wimpey and the visionary volunteers who founded FACETS pledged that no neighbor would go unnoticed or unrecognized in Fairfax County. It was a promise to listen, help, care about and serve neighbors in distress. FACETS provides lifesaving and transformational services to those in crisis but can’t do it without the community’s help. Its hot meals program and food distributions are seeing increased attendees, and its family shelters are operating at 250 percent capacity. To donate, go to

* The Women’s Center - Since The Women’s Center was founded in 1974, it’s grown to include services to clients of all gender identities, families, young adults and children. It now serves more than 3,000 people a year. It also provides one of the largest, most prestigious and most competitive training programs for mental- health professionals in the region. And it, too, relies on philanthropic contributions to offer subsidized and free care and support to people in need in the community. Donate at

* Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf - The Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Persons serves a diverse range of people, including the deaf, deaf-blind, late-deafened, hard of hearing, parents with deaf and hard of hearing children, children of deaf and hard of hearing parents, educators, sign language teachers and students, hearing-aid users, plus people with cochlear implants, tinnitus and auditory-processing disorders. To donate, go to