Chocolate Festival returns to Rehoboth for 24th year
Calling all chocolate lovers: The 24th Annual Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival will be held this Saturday at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center.
“The Chocolate Festival was originally started by the Friends of the Rehoboth Beach Library,” explained Krys Johnson, executive director of Rehoboth Beach Main Street, which has partnered with the Friends for the event. “It’s their big fundraiser.”
The 2014 festival will be held on Saturday, March 1, and is open to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Last year, more than 2,300 people attended the event to experience the delectable creations of more than 225 restaurateurs, chefs and bakers.
“It has substantially grown,” said Johnson. “It has grown to thousands of people attending this event yearly, with more and more people coming each year.”
Smith said that last year’s event boasted 250 entries in the various chocolate competitions, and she expects even more this year.
“It’s grown and grown,” she added. “We have more and more entries, with more and more people coming. Because they love chocolate — that’s all we have: chocolate!”
Tickets cost $5, which includes five tastes of the chocolate confections. Extra taste tickets will be available for purchase for those who want to enjoy even more sweets.
Categories for the event include cookies, brownies, pies, cheesecakes, candy, cake and most unusual. Entries can be made on the morning of the festival, in divisions for restaurants, bakers, professionals/chefs, amateurs, showpieces, teens 12 to 18 years old, and kids 12 or younger.
“This year, the teen category is new,” noted Johnson. “Prior to that, there was just a kids’ category for 12 and under. But we don’t want to forget the teens, and they now have their own category. We’re hoping a lot of teens show up with their chocolate masterpieces — they’re very creative.”
“So many of the kids who entered year after year after year are in their teens now,” added Smith. “Sure, they could enter, but they had to enter as an adult. So if you’re 13, you don’t really want to bake a cake against someone who’s been baking for decades.”
All entries must be received at the Convention Center between 7 and 8:30 a.m. on the morning of the festival. Judging will begin at 9:15 a.m., and the winners will be announced prior to festival opening to the public, with each winning entry marked on the display tables from which the tastes will be served.
For every category and division, three ribbons will be given out to those who place in that category.
“We have 30 judges,” she said. “Everybody who places gets a beautiful ribbon, and we’ll also have some prizes.”
“This is my first year attending, so I’m excited to see the event and, hopefully, it continues to grow every year,” said Johnson.
Along with viewing and tasting the sweet treats, attendees may also pick up chocolate delectables from vendor tables.
“There’ll be stores and that kind of thing,” she explained.
Smith said more than 75 volunteers help run the event, from judging to cutting sweets for visitors.
“It takes a lot. We don’t cut the pieces ahead. Someone comes up and says, ‘I’d like a piece of that,’ and we cut it.”
Along with festivities at the festival itself, area businesses, including Odysea and Dos Locos, will offer chocolate specials all weekend.
“Lots of businesses downtown will be offering chocolate specials,” said Johnson. “Come to town and participate in the chocolate festival, or just attend to taste these delicious samples.”
Tickets for the festival are available for pre-sale at the Rehoboth Beach Main Street office, Azura, Boardwalk Plaza and Snyder’s Candy. Tickets will be available at the door the day of the event.
Smith said the festival is a popular fundraiser for the Friends group, and she hopes people will continue to support their mission.
“It has been very successful, and we hope that continues in the future.”
The Rehoboth Beach Convention Center is located in downtown Rehoboth Beach. For more information, call Rehoboth Beach Main Street at (302) 227-2772. To download the entry form for the competitions, visit www.downtownrehoboth.com/sites/default/files/2014%20Baking%20Contest%20E....