Fairfax City Paradise for Chocolate Lovers

Fairfax City Paradise for Chocolate Lovers

Three-day festival of tasty treats is set for Feb. 3-5.

Chocolate-covered Oreos decorated for Valentine’s Day.

Chocolate-covered Oreos decorated for Valentine’s Day.

When it comes to life’s pleasures, it’s hard to beat chocolate. So it’s no wonder that people near and far are excited about the return of Fairfax City’s Chocolate Festival. 

After a pandemic absence the past two years, this three-day extravaganza of chocolate delights will provide attendees with a delicious and delightful experience for the whole family. It’s paradise for chocolate aficionados, plus an enjoyable way for visitors to see what Fairfax City has to offer.

The 29th annual Chocolate Lovers Festival kicks off Friday, Feb. 3, from 6-8 p.m., followed by more tasty treats Saturday, Feb. 4, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 5, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 

Held in the City’s Old Town area, it will feature chocolate in nearly every form imaginable – and not just cupcakes, candy, cookies, cakes, ice cream and fudge, but also chocolate fountains and even adult beverages flavored with chocolate.

“The Chocolate Lovers Festival in Fairfax City is a beloved community event that is back after a two-year hiatus,” said City Mayor Catherine Read. “The timing so close to Valentine’s Day is a great way to celebrate a chocolate-centered holiday.”

“Since 1993, this has been a triumph of collaboration among local businesses, the Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, Old Town Fairfax Business Assn., chocolatiers, and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department,” she continued. “There are activities for people of all ages to enjoy, and the weather looks promising.”

The signature event is the Taste of Chocolate, where attendees purchase samples of mouthwatering, chocolate treats from two floors of vendors in Old Town Hall. But that’s not all. Throughout the festival, children and adults will enjoy a full slate of activities. 

There’ll be musical performances, cake walks, puppet shows, a balloon artist, Chocolate Caper mock trial, children’s entertainer Groovy Nate, cupcake-decorating, make-and-take crafts, and history of chocolate tours, as well as open houses in historic buildings. (See the Schedule of Events for specific times, locations and other details).

All venues are handicap-accessible, and the Chocolate Express – sponsored by the Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce – will provide free, fully accessible shuttle service between event locations. It’ll run Feb. 4, from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and Feb. 5, from noon-3 p.m. Only certified service animals are allowed inside any event site. 

Liquid Chocolate 

Featuring an intriguing assortment of chocolate libations, this year’s chocolate fun begins Friday, Feb. 3, from 6-8 p.m., with Liquid Chocolate. It’ll be held inside a heated tent on Old Town Square’s upper parking lot, 3999 University Drive. And because it’s so much fun, it’ll return Saturday, Feb. 4, from 1-6 p.m. 

There’ll be beverages for all ages, ranging from offerings such as chocolate soda, hot chocolate and milkshakes for children to chocolate wines, chocolate beers and dessert wine pairings for adults. Admission is free; in past years, alcohol tastings have cost $2 each, nonalcohol tastings, $1 each.

Sponsored by HB Home Services, the participating businesses include MurLarkey Distillery, Inside Scoop, Chubby Squirrel Brewing Co., Scrummy Gorgeous, Fairfax Ace Hardware and The Wine House.

Taste of Chocolate

The festival’s centerpiece, the Taste of Chocolate, will be held Saturday, Feb. 4, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 5, from noon-4 p.m., in Old Town Hall, 3999 University Drive (corner of Main Street and University Drive). Strollers may be left on the front porch; a fully accessible entrance is at the door on Main Street.

Sponsored by Sandy Springs Bank, admission to this event is free. Visitors buy pogs for $1 each and then browse vendors’ tables to see the wide array of chocolate treats being offered. They purchase them with the pogs and may buy as many pogs as they want from roaming volunteers in red aprons.

There’s always a wide variety of goodies includes chocolate candies, bars, brownies, cakes and fudge, chocolate-covered strawberries and ice cream. And one of the biggest hits each year are the chocolate fountains into which customers may dip bite-sized treats such as fruit, doughnut holes or marshmallows.

Among the vendors will be: Cameron’s Coffee and Chocolates, Capital Candy Jar, Capitol Chocolate Fountains, Chocolate Lover’s Festival, Chouquette Chocolates, El Ceibo Bolivian Chocolate, Dilly Cakes, Great Harvest Bread, Le Papiyon Chocolateer, Mike’s Fudge, Mochi Donut by Food Fest, Mother Clusters, Odyssey Chocolate, River-Sea Chocolates, SamiChakra LLC, Scrummy Gorgeous, Sugar Mama’s, The Sweet Life Cakery and Tysons Creamery.

Chocolate Cookbooks, Souvenirs

Chocolate Lovers Festival Cookbooks ($10) may be purchased at the Taste of Chocolate and at the Fairfax City Regional Library. Featured are recipes with chocolate as an ingredient in snacks, appetizers, main courses, soups, salads and, of course, desserts. Other festival souvenirs will include light-up pens, notepads, flashlights, blinking safety lights. Both long- and short-sleeved commemorative T-shirts, ranging in price from $5-$15, will also be sold.

Grant Recipients

Each year, the Chocolate Lovers Festival Committee chooses one or more nonprofit, charitable organizations that contribute to the community and to the common good to receive part of the festival proceeds. This year’s recipients are:

SafeSpot Children’s Advocacy Center of Fairfax

SafeSpot supports child victims of sexual and severe physical abuse. Using a compassionate approach, the needs of these young and vulnerable children are placed above all others. Throughout the intervention, investigation, prosecution and treatment, Safespot provides no-cost services to children victims and their non-offending family members. All services are designed to reduce present trauma, better navigate the systems involved and promote healing.

Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources 

Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources is a private nonprofit committed to helping offenders who are, or have been, incarcerated and wish to assume productive roles in the community. Families of offenders are also assisted in various ways, as they cope with the crisis of arrest and incarceration.

The Heart Leaf Center

The Heart Leaf Center is a nonprofit serving children and families affected by the mental-health crisis exacerbated by COVID-19. It provides high-quality, low-cost, play therapy for Northern Virginia children and families who, otherwise, could not afford the care they need. It specializes in child play therapy to help clients, ages 3-12, better express themselves and resolve their problems. The festival grant will fund these play-therapy services for low-income children and families.