The Fairfax Chocolate Lovers Festival is a dream-come-true for chocolate aficionados, and the 2017 extravaganza is this Saturday, Feb. 4, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 5, from noon-4 p.m. Vendors will offer a wide variety of chocolate treats ranging from candy to cakes, ice cream, fudge, chocolate-covered strawberries and milkshakes.
This year’s festival is the 25th annual; a complete schedule of events is at www.chocolatefestival.net. All venues are handicap-accessible, and the Chocolate Express will run Feb. 4, from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Feb. 5, from 11:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. providing free shuttle service between event locations.
New for 2017 is Liquid Chocolate, starting off the fun Friday night, Feb. 3, from 6-8 p.m., and returning Saturday, Feb. 4, from 3-7 p.m. Inside a heated tent on Old Town Square’s upper parking lot, 3999 University Drive, will be chocolate libations galore. Adults may taste chocolate wines, chocolate beers and dessert wine pairings for $2 each, while children enjoy hot chocolate, chocolate milkshakes and chocolate soda for $1/tasting.
Then, starting off Saturday morning’s activities will be the annual Kiwanis Club of Fairfax Pancake Breakfast. From 8 a.m.-1 p.m., attendees may feast on regular or chocolate-chip pancakes, sausage, coffee, juice and milk, at Fire Station 3, at 4081 University Drive. Cost is $8, adults; $4, children ages 4-10. Children 3 and under eat free with a paying adult (limit two children per adult). There’ll also be a bake sale, and face-painting is $2/child.
But save room for later because the highlight of the festival, the Taste of Chocolate, is Saturday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, from noon-4 p.m., in Old Town Hall, 3999 University Drive (corner of Main Street and University Drive). Leave strollers 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 browse vendors’ tables to see all the chocolate goodies being offered. They buy them with pogs and may get as many pogs as they’d like from roaming volunteers in red aprons.
The assortment of treats is on two floors and includes chocolate fudge, truffles, candy bars, brownies, cakes and ice cream. And always popular are the chocolate fountains into which customers may dip fruit, cream-filled doughnut holes or marshmallows.
Among the vendors will be: C & D Sweets, CakeLove, Cakes by Shelby, Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates, The Capital Candy Jar, Capitol Chocolate Fountains; The Chocolatier’s Palette, Chocotenago, Confection Connection, Dave’s Candy Kitchen, HB&M Chocolate, Le Papiyon Chocolatier, Mike’s Fudge, Salazon Chocolate Co., Sugar Mama’s Ice Cream and Virginia Chocolate Co.
Another crowd-pleasing venue is the Chocolate Challenge, in which both professional and amateur chefs display their beautiful, whimsical and creative chocolate cakes, cupcakes and sculptures. It runs Feb. 4, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Feb. 5, from noon-4 p.m.
But this year, it’s in a new location at 10427 North St., in the former Pacers site at the corner of North and University. Admission is $1/adult; children under 18 are free. A designated stroller-parking area is outside the building. Each entry is judged in various categories, and visitors may use their admission ticket to vote for the People’s Choice Award winner. They may also participate in the silent action of challenge entries, plus items from local businesses.
In addition, cake walks will go on throughout the weekend in Old Town Square. They’re among a whole slew of activities planned for children, including puppet shows, cupcake-decorating, music, magic, juggling and storytelling. (See the online schedule for the complete list, plus times and places). And four historic buildings – the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, Legato School, Ford House and Ratcliffe-Allison-Pozer House – will hold open houses.
Free parking is available at these locations, with handicapped parking offered at all sites, except for Sager Avenue:
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).