Tuesday, February 14, 2012

8th Annual Chocolate Lovers' Festival

While listening to the radio on our trip home from Springfield, Misery last week, I heard an advertisement for the Chocolate Lovers' Festival that was being held in Eureka Springs that coming Saturday.

I was actually quite proud of myself that I remembered to look it up on the inter-web when I got home.  I mentioned to Randy that I thought it would be a fun excursion, and since he didn't disagree, I made plans for us to go.

This is the 8th year of the Chocolate Lovers' Festival and has such accolades as being featured in Southern Living magazine and being named the second-best attraction for Valentine's Day in the state.

I have got to Google what the first place attraction is.

The festival itself is a fund-raiser for area non-profit organizations.  The $10 admission charge pays for an empty popcorn bag and an empty box.  You can eat your fill of goodies inside the festival.  Whatever goodies you can stuff into the bag and the box are yours to take home.

Since Eureka Springs is a 2-1/2 hour drive for us, I wanted to get an early start.  That meant it was a 'get up and go' morning.  I don't do well with those types of mornings.  My plan to be out of the house by 7am failed, although we did get a relatively (for us) early start at 8am.

The drive to Eureka Springs is beautiful.  While it was very cold out, the sun was shining.  It never fails that we get behind a slow poke on our excursions.  Oh, well, I am teaching myself that there is no need to be in a hurry these days.

The festival was held at the Convention Center that is attached to the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks.  The parking lot was full to the brim when we got there and we had to drive around a bit before we found a spot.

Now, I have to say right here that this event was nothing like I had pictured in my mind.  I thought that there would be booths set up with companies showing (and handing out) their fancy and decadent delights of all things chocolate.  

There were booths set up, but they were showing the normal things that one would see at a home-show type event: candles, soap, salsa, skin care, area hotels and attractions.  The booths have chocolate goodies free for the taking - mostly in the form of Hershey's Kisses.  Yes, there was the occasional cupcake, but mostly Hershey Kisses.

There were four stations set up around the room with chocolate fountains.  The festival people did a great job of continuing to replenish the treats used for dipping, things like pretzels, marshmallows, rice crispy treats and fruit.  

Walking around amongst the guests were these young ladies, carrying trays laden with chocolate goodies.  They were very popular young ladies.  So popular that some festival goers caught on to where their entrance was and ambushed them before they got three steps onto the convention center floor.

It always amazes me how people act when 'free for the taking' enters the picture.  Most forget any sort of decorum and manners just to get to a piece of fudge.  Those that try to keep their manners in check realize that if they don't turn into the other group, they will be leaving with both their popcorn bag and white box empty.

Randy and I were in the latter group.  We took the 'when in Rome' approach and laid in wait for a full tray of goodies to appear.  After playing that game for a while, we decided that we had seen all there is to see and gotten all there was to be gotten.

We must have arrived at just the right time, because the line of people waiting to get in when we left was L.O.N.G.  I was able to sell our parking space for $20.


We didn't eat much for goodies at the show, but both of our boxes were full of delights.  We were only given one popcorn bag between the two of us, but we did score big on the Hershey Kisses and mini candy bars.

On our way out of town, we stopped for lunch and then at the city park in Berryville so that Roxy could stretch her legs.

After an adventure filled week, the McDaniel family was happy to relax and lounge around all day on Sunday, eating chocolate kisses.  We threw away most of what we gathered in our $20 boxes.

Have the BEST Valentine's Day ever!

💕 Dorothy

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