Time to Indulge in Fairfax City

Chocolate Lovers Festival is this weekend.

Cold weather and comfort food go hand-in-hand, and what could be more comforting than chocolate? The City of Fairfax will therefore offer chocolate in all forms, this weekend, during its 26th annual Chocolate Lovers Festival.

Promising something for everyone’s chocolate sweet tooth, this tasty extravaganza is set for Friday, Feb. 2, from 6-8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 3, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 4, from noon-4 p.m.

  • Kicking things off in style Friday, from 6-8 p.m., will be Liquid Chocolate inside a heated tent on Old Town Square’s upper parking lot, 3999 University Drive. It will also return Saturday, from 1-6 p.m. There’ll be beverages ranging from chocolate soda, hot chocolate and chocolate tea for children to chocolate wines, beers and martinis for adults. Admission is free; alcohol tastings are $2 each, non-alcohol tastings, $1 each.

Participating will be: Twin’s ACE Hardware, offering chocolate soda; Earth Fare, organic chocolate milk, hot chocolate, spicy hot chocolate and dark hot chocolate; Crossroads Tea Company, chocolate tea; The Wine House, wine and food pairings; Adroit Theory Brewing Co., chocolate beer; Forge Brew Works, chocolate stout; and Spotlight on the Arts, chocolate martinis.

  • Saturday’s ever-popular Kiwanis Club of Fairfax Pancake Breakfast is from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Enjoy regular or chocolate-chip pancakes, sausage, coffee, juice and milk at Fire Station 3, at 4081 University Drive. Cost is $8, adults; $4, children ages 4-10. Children 3 and under eat free with a paying adult (limit two children per adult). Face-painting will be available for $2/child.

  • The festival’s centerpiece is the Taste of Chocolate, on Saturday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, from noon-4 p.m., in Old Town Hall, 3999 University Drive (corner of Main Street and University Drive). Leave strollers on the front porch; a fully accessible entrance is on Main Street.

Admission is free; visitors buy pogs for $1 each and then browse two floors of vendors’ tables to see a wide array of mouthwatering, chocolate treats. They purchase pogs from roaming volunteers in red aprons and use them to buy whatever goodies they want.

The deliciousness includes chocolate fudge, cakes, candies, bars, brownies, chocolate-covered strawberries, ice cream and gelato. There are even chocolate fountains into which customers may dip fruit, cream-filled doughnut holes or marshmallows.

Vendors are: C & D Sweets, CakeLove, Cakes by Shelby, Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates, The Capital Candy Jar, Capitol Chocolate Fountains, Chocotenango, Confection Connection, Dave’s Candy Kitchen, Diestro LLC, HB+M Chocolate, Le Papiyon Chocolatier, Marinucci’s Gelato & Pastry, Mike’s Fudge, Pacari Chocolate, Salazon Chocolate Co., Schokolat, Sugar Mama’s Ice Cream and The Sweet Life Cakery.

  • In the Chocolate Challenge, professionals and amateurs compete to see who can make the most beautiful and creative chocolate sculptures, cakes and cupcakes. They’ll be on display Saturday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, from noon-4 p.m., at 10427 North St., in the former Pacers site at the corner of North Street and University. Admission is $1/adults; children under 18 are free. A designated, stroller-parking area is outside the building.

Entries are judged in various categories. Visitors may also take part, using their admission ticket to vote for the People’s Choice Award winner and participate in the silent action of challenge entries, plus items from local businesses.

  • Cake walks will go on throughout the weekend in Old Town Square, and lots of children’s activities – including puppet shows, cupcake-decorating, music, movies, juggling and storytelling – are also planned. There’s even a scavenger hunt, plus a showing of the original version of the movie, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” on Sunday, from 1-4 p.m., in the tent at Old Town Square.

In addition, four historic buildings – the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, Legato School, Ford House and Ratcliffe-Allison-Pozer House – will hold open houses, and a gigantic, LOVE Sculpture will adorn Old Town Square. For a complete list of events, times and places, go to www.chocolatefestival.net.

All venues are handicap-accessible, and the Chocolate Express will provide free, fully accessible shuttle service between event locations. It’ll run Saturday, from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sunday, from 11:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Pick-up locations are: Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, Fairfax Regional Library, Fairfax Historic Courthouse (Saturday only), Fire Station 3 (Saturday only), Legato School Museum, Old Town Square and Old Town Hall. The City’s Cue buses will also be on their regular schedules.

  • Free parking, including handicapped, is available at the following locations:

Bank of America, 10440 Main St. (accessible from Route 236 and North Street).

City Hall, 10455 Armstrong St. (accessible from Route 123/Chain Bridge Road and George Mason Boulevard).

City of Fairfax Regional Library, 10360 North St. (accessible from University Drive and Old Lee Highway).

East Street parking lot (accessible from Route 236/Main Street and East Street).

Fairfax County Courthouse Garage B, 4400 Chain Bridge Road (accessible from Page Avenue).

Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, 10209 Main St.

Fire Station 3, 4081 University Drive.

Old Town Plaza, 3955 Chain Bridge Road (accessible from Route 123/Chain Bridge Road and University Drive).

Old Town Village (behind Pacer’s, 10427 North St.) Open at noon Saturday and all day Sunday; (accessible from University Drive).

Sager Avenue parking lot (accessible from Sager Avenue and University Drive).