BURLINGTON — Imagine a world in which there is no such thing as too much chocolate.
From Thursday to Monday, May 23 to 27, this world comes alive during ChocolateFest, 681 Maryland Ave., near Highway 36.
Witness sculptures made entirely out of chocolate, outfits made entirely out of chocolate bar wrappers and chocolate-eating contests that are sure to take people’s taste buds to the limit.
The 20th annual ChocolateFest has compelled guests from all corners of the land to indulge in a food that has remained popular for over 4,000 years, a confection so divine it has been known as the “food of the gods.”
“Each year, the festival is improved with many new activities, and more chocolate offerings,” said Linda Fellenz, director of marketing for ChocolateFest.
This year’s event — the theme for which is “Viva Choco Vegas!” — will bring more chef demonstrations and chocolate artists, with a special carving session planned for Friday night, May 24.
Most of the chocolate-related fun happens in the Chocolate Experience Tent, which will be open May 24, from 4 to 9 p.m.; May 25 and 26, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and May 27, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Barb Lois, ChocolateFest’s director of print media/marketing, said this year’s event also has more live music, as well as a new Cantina Stage which will feature mariachi music daily at noon.
The band Cherry Pie was added to a Thursday night slot on the Main Stage, a 7 p.m. show May 23 which guests can see without having to pay admission fees.
ChocolateFest is a festival, after all, and it wouldn’t be complete without the other staples of the event — a parade, carnival, fireworks, children’s games and various opportunities to buy things from vendors.
The Memorial Day parade is May 27 at 9 a.m., running from Kane Street to Milwaukee Avenue, to Echo Park, followed by a 10:30 a.m. ceremony to honor veterans.
Hypnotist/magician Chris Jones, Grandpa Cratchet, a NASCAR exhibit, helicopter rides and more are also part of the event schedule.
There was the danger of the fireworks show being cancelled, as Lois said they lost the support of the sponsor which used to fund the show.
But recently, two local businesses — Mangold Insurance and Community State Bank — pledged to sponsor.
Lois is grateful that the show will go as planned Friday, May 24, at dusk.
“My favorite ChocolateFest activity — besides eating chocolate, of course — is watching the fireworks,” she said. “It brings many fond family memories (of) watching fireworks as a child, with our children, and now with our grandchildren.”
Festival hours are May 23, from 5 to 10 p.m. — for carnival only, free admission; May 24, from 4 p.m. to midnight; May 25 and 26, from 10 a.m. to midnight; and May 27, from noon to 7 p.m.
Numerous live acts are scheduled each day of the event, including Bella Cain May 24; Lara Bell, Squad 51, Dayrollers and Almighty Vinyl May 25; Gravity of Youth, Mad Bark, Astro Blues Band and Lunch Money Bullies May 26; and the Britins and the Flatheads May 27.
See chocolatefest.com for times, plus additional scheduling info on ChocolateFest events.
Advance tickets are $7 for ages 13 and older, $4 for children ages 5 to 12.
No charge for those ages 4 and younger.
Tickets are available online until noon May 22.
At the gate, tickets are $8 for those 13 and older, and $5 for those ages 5 to 12.
Visit the ChocolateFest website for more information about pricing.