News / USA

    Love for Chocolate Brings Community Together

    Love for Chocolate Brings Virginia Community Togetheri
    X
    February 11, 2014 12:45 AM
    Valentine's Day is celebrated in many countries on February 14 each year. Lovers express their love for each other by exchanging flowers, cards, and especially - chocolates. According to industry statistics, in the U.S. alone, about 27 million Kilograms (60 million pounds) of chocolate candy (worth about $350 million) are sold during Valentine’s week. As Valentine's Day is just around the corner, chocolate themed events also attract people. VOA’s June Soh takes us to one popular chocolate festival outside Washington.
    June Soh
    Valentine's Day is celebrated in many countries on February 14 each year. Lovers express their love for each other by exchanging flowers, cards, and especially - chocolates. According to industry statistics, in the U.S. alone, about 27 million kilograms (60 million pounds) of chocolate candy, worth about $350 million  are sold during Valentine’s week. As Valentine's Day is just around the corner, chocolate themed events also attract people.

    From fountains and colorful pastries - to candies - cupcakes - and ice cream, everything at the Chocolate Lovers Festival in Old Town Fairfax, Virginia is made of chocolate.

    Children and adults alike indulged in chocolate overload.

    The two-day festival, held on a weekend before Valentine’s Day, is in its 21st year. Leslie Herman is the chair of the event.

    “Every year it gets larger. It doesn’t matter what the weather is unless it is huge snow storm you can’t drive in it. But folks come out in rain, snow, cold. Usually we have an attendance of about 10,000 people," said Harman.

    Many visitors start their chocolate day with a chocolate chip pancake breakfast, served by volunteers. In the chocolate tasting area, about 40 local vendors showcase their products.

    Debby Walsh has been bringing a variety of chocolate concoctions here for 20 years.
     
    “I enjoy coming here each and every year meeting a lot of the same faces each and every year, and making people happy and giving them good chocolates. “I am often the top seller," said Walsh.

    The festival offers some sweet competitions as well, such as the Chocolate Challenge. Amateur and professional chocolatiers can enter their creations in the contest sponsored by George Mason University. Joe Wilson is the school’s nutrition and food studies department manager.

    “The judges tasted them this morning but not the public. The entries are judged on taste, precision and the creation itself," said Wilson.

    Visitors also can vote for their favorites and bid on donated cakes at the silent auction.

    Outside the tasting area, visitors can enjoy a non-chocolate activity offered by a local motorcycle group.

    “We are here today as eye candy. These, all these Harley bikes are fun for people to see, and sit on, and look at. This would be sort of an attraction, one of little things people do when they come downtown Fairfax to enjoy the Chocolate Lovers Festival," said Larry Larson of the Fairfax Harley Owners Group.

    Herman says the festival is not just about chocolate and fun.

    “Part of the benefits is bringing businesses to the downtown. And another benefit is the grant recipients that are chosen by the Chocolate Lovers Festival Committee, which is this year Best Buddies," she said.

    That charitable effort is why Melissa Guzman, who runs a chocolate fountain business, has been participating in the festival for a decade.

    "Twenty five percent of all of the monies that are taken by the vendors are given to a charity that has been selected by the committee. So it allows all of us to be able to give back to our community," said Guzman.

    And that's something everyone can love.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora