More than 150 chocolate enthusiasts attended an event celebrating their favorite food, raising money for the Arlee community.
The 14th annual Chocolate Lover’s Festival was held Wednesday, Feb. 7, at the Arlee Brown Building, 92439 U.S. Highway 93.
Sponsored by the Arlee Community Development Corporation, event organizer and President of Arlee CDC Shannon Patton said that the turnout is taking the event in the right direction.
“We definitely had lots of new faces,” she said, adding that the crowd was the largest in the festival’s history.
Approximately $2,500 was raised, which will go toward the Jocko Valley Library and youth programming through the Arlee area.
The most money the fundraiser brought in in a single day was $3,800, Patton said.
She explained that participants register the day of the event.
“We’ve got people that bring in dishes that have chocolate,” she said, adding that it doesn’t matter what the dish is.
The only rule is, is that “it has to have chocolate.”
Two of the same dish is brought: one to cut into samples and another to enter into an auction.
For the first hour of the chocolate celebration, people test out the samples during a social hour.
Live entertainment is provided while everyone votes for their favorite.
Categories for the favorite confection or meal include best of show for adults, best of show for children, best of show for young adult, first place, second place and third place.
During the second hour of the festival, Patton said that votes are tallied and prizes are issued.
Following the prizes, each dessert is then auctioned off.
Patton said that the Chocolate Lover’s Festival serves not only as the Arlee CDC’s largest fundraiser, but also as a membership drive.
The CDC helps organizations and people write grants, she explained, and granters are more likely to award funds to areas where “the community backs you up.”
“There are grant monies available,” Patton said, but for grants to be obtained, “the CDC needs to show there is community support.”
She said that since Arlee is unincorporated, it’s a little more of a challenge to get smaller things around the community completed, such as beautification efforts.
Buhr noted that the festival has outgrown its venue which is “exciting,” and next year will be held at Arlee School.
For more information on the Arlee CDC, visit their Facebook page.