It was a chocoholic’s paradise. An estimated 3,000 people attended the 17th annual “For the Love of Chocolate Festival” on Saturday at the Medina Performing Arts Center.
With a $10 ticket, guests could sample up to eight chocolate treats from more than 40 chocolatiers. Delectable goodies included fudge, truffles, dark and milk chocolate caramels, hot fudge sundaes and freshly baked cookies. Vendors also offered items for sale.
Hosted by the American Red Cross and the J.M. Smucker Company, the event featured a dessert baking contest for professional, adult and teen cooks as well as a cookie contest for the younger set.
Katt Miller of Earth Fare won first place in the professional category for a decadent brownie mousse. A chocolate-covered strawberry cupcake nabbed first place for
Tracy Lally in the adult category. And frosting the competition in the high school and middle school contests were Sarah Bowers and Haily Csizmadia. Leah Medley was the first-place preschool winner.
Natalie Bair, 6, of Medina, enjoyed a sweet victory in the elementary school contest for her Melting Snowman Cookies.
“I like baking muffins, too,” she said.
Contest judges were Theresa Laffey and Lynn Wiandt, Medina County Library, Aaron Gnapp, Buehler’s River Styx, Hannah Warren, Emeritus at Camelot Place, Danielle Haney, Santo Suossos, previous high school winner Wendy Yount and chocolate connoisseur Rich Doyle.
In addition to the delicious dessert offerings, youngsters played games and won prizes at CandyLand and Magic Island. Volunteers Grace Miller, 18, Medina and Kylie Brock, 15, Medina helped kids try to stack the highest tower of Oreo cookies. Other volunteers manned games such as the bean bag toss, bowling and golf.
Joey LeBlanc, 6, Brunswick Hills, enjoyed a sundae with family members including his grandmother Nancy Cerny, 66.
“His family is very health conscious,” Cerny said, “so coming to the festival is a special treat for him.”
Medina County Auditor Mike Kovack, who served as chairman for the festival, kept the festivities going with prize giveaways and announcements.
“The bake sale is the hidden secret here,” he said, “If you come early you can buy award-winning baked goods to take home.”
All proceeds from the festival will benefit the American Red Cross of Medina County.
Contact reporter Nancy Johnson at (330) 721-4065 or firstname.lastname@example.org.