Connor Smith, Staff Writer
It is another cold, windy February in Northern Virginia, but it certainly does not have to be a lonely one thanks to the City of Fairfax. This weekend, Feb. 7-8, Fairfax City’s Parks and Recreation Department is holding its annual Chocolate Lover’s Festival in celebration of Valentine’s Day.
The city is a buzz this weekend with 11 different event sites spread over the city; there is no way to set foot in the city limits without being infected with “chocolate fever” (patent pending). It seems as the Parks and Rec department have really pulled out the stops for this year’s festival and it shows as Virginia Living Magazine has nominated the festival for the best annual food festival in the state (placing 2nd overall three years in a row), but certainly do not wait until April when the results come out, nobody has time for that.
This year’s events include a walking history tour, chocolate and a movie, a craft show, samples from local chocolate venders, a chocolate chip pancake breakfast at Kiwanis and open historic houses and sites.
The most riveting moment of the festival, however, has to be the ever-popular chocolate challenge which pits chocolatiers head to head in a no holds barred chocolate competition, with categories for cakes, cupcakes, and sculpture, all sponsored by the Mason Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, with a judges panel of local celebrities and a people’s choice award. This jaw-dropping decathlon of dessert arts will be held right here on the Fairfax campus in the nutrition kitchen, there is simply no reason to miss out.
When asked about the special nature of the festival, event chairwoman Leslie Herman said, “The variety of chocolate activities for all ages that touch all five of your senses makes the Chocolate Lovers Festival so special. Where else within a few short blocks can you tease and satisfy all your senses… taste chocolate delicacies at the Taste of Chocolate, view beautiful chocolate works of art at the Chocolate Challenge, watch Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, smell chocolate while at the Taste of Chocolate and when smearing chocolate syrup over your chocolate chip pancakes, touch cupcakes while constructing the toppings and listen to Chocolate Dipped Puppet Tales, Chocolate Covered Fairy Tales and the Chocolate Caper Mock Trials? And if walking to the venues is not to your liking, hop on the Chocolate Express Shuttle!”
With massive amounts of preparation from the Fairfax City Parks Department, this is surely going to be a wonderful festival. There are so few better ways to spend the weekend before Valentine’s Day with your significant other, or in the case of this reporter, sadly eat one’s feelings and stave off the cold lonely February chill. From Saturday to Sunday, all of Fairfax will be in chocolate heaven.