Found across the Potomac River from Washington D.C., Fairfax’s proximity to major attractions, historical sites, and well-known restaurants make it the ideal destination for a Virginia getaway. History enthusiasts will find more historical sites and monuments than one vacation can handle, and every itinerary should include a trip to Mount Vernon, which was George Washington's home. Travelers with a sweet tooth need to check out Cameron’s Coffee and Chocolates, The Capital Candy Jar, and Sugar Mama’s Ice Cream.
The Chocolate Lovers Festival has been Virginia’s go-to celebration of chocolate for 26 years, and this year’s event will take place February 2-4 in Historic Downtown Fairfax. This year’s event will feature more than 18 different chocolate vendors who will serve cakes, candies, brownies, fudge, ice cream, and more. The Taste of Chocolate activity offers patrons the chance to sample hundreds of different chocolates from the area's leading confectioners. At the Liquid Chocolate Tent, people can sample a variety of chocolate beverages ranging from sodas to wines. Fans of arts and sweets will love the Chocolate Challenge/Silent Auction, which showcases and auctions artistic treats made with chocolate. Attendees can also use their Chocolate Challenge ticket to vote for the People's Choice Award for the best chocolate in the show. This year, the event's proceeds will go to benefitting the Fairfax Library Foundation & Stroke Comeback Center. We interviewed Event Manager for the City of Fairfax Parks and Recreation Department, Mitzi Taylor, to learn more about this sweet celebration.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.
MT: Organizing the Chocolate Lovers Festival began in 1992 as a joint effort between the City of Fairfax, the Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Fairfax Coalition, the Downtown Fairfax Merchants Association, and George Mason University. The first festival took place in February 1993, and in 2018 we continue this 26-year tradition with “love of chocolate” as a unifying theme. This festival continues to attract chocolate lovers from around the country and draws visitors to Fairfax City and encourages community participation, and fosters cooperation among the City government, the business community, and the residents.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
MT: This will be the 26th year of the event.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
MT: We see around 7,000 attendees per year.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
MT: Our event primarily attracts families, but we also see couples and groups of friends.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
MT: This is one of the only chocolate festivals on the East Coast.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
MT: This delicious festival features three days of chocolate celebration. Among the events planned each year is the Taste of Chocolate, where chocolate vendors sell their wares to taste and purchase; the Liquid Chocolate Tent, to sample all the chocolate liquids you desire, and the Chocolate Challenge/Silent Auction, an arts extravaganza where the medium is chocolate along with Silent Auction items. There is also a Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, featuring chocolate chip pancakes, children’s activities, Chocolate Covered Fairytales, open houses at historic buildings, and much more. Some events require a small fee while other events are free to all visitors. The schedule is subject to change. Please visit our website for a current schedule of activities.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
MT: Fairfax has a variety of lodging options which can be found here.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
MT: Yes, our event brings people into the downtown area where they will spend money at local shops, restaurants, etc.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
MT: The Chocolate Lovers Festival profits go to the CLF Committee, which votes on a grant recipient every year. This year’s grant recipients are Fairfax Library Foundation & Stroke Comeback Center.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
MT: Everyone loves chocolate, and there are many different chocolate events to make all people of all ages happy.
For more information about the Chocolate Lovers Festival, please visit the event website.