I celebrated Valentine’s Day a couple days early this year. The annual Chocolate Festival was being held at the West Plains Civic Center, and I was determined to go (I missed it last year.) Baked goods, candy, and other items are donated to be auctioned off. Entrants’ products are judged, and prizes are awarded. The Festival is a benefit for the Christos House, a shelter for abused women and their children, so my admission fee supported a good cause.
The Civic Center’s main room was inhabited by a gun show, which I thought was sort of ironic, and I asked two men sitting in the lobby if they knew where the Chocolate Festival was. Nope, they sure didn’t, they were here for the gun show. (Which I surmised by observing the large rifle and ammunition belt full of bullets resting on the table next to them.) I asked if they had chocolate bullets in the belt, and we all chuckled. A passing lady helpfully told me the Chocolate Festival was upstairs, so up I went.
The little lobby in front of the “chocolate” room had tables holding all sorts of gift baskets to be auctioned. The table that caught my eye was covered with plates of Valentine-themed mini-cupcakes, plates, and napkins.
After I’d paid my admission, I told the lady I’d never been to this event, so what was the procedure? She happily informed me that the mini-cupcakes were free (oh yeah!), and I should go inside and pick a seat. Before each baked or candy item was auctioned off, a plate of samples would be brought to each table, so you could taste what you were buying. This was getting better and better.
At the front of the room was a long table displaying all the stuff to be sold. Each entrant had to make two batches, one to be cut up for samples, one to be sold. Everything looked delicious. My favorites were the German Chocolate Delights, Not Yo’ Mama’s Coco Cake, strawberries dipped in milk & dark chocolate tuxedos, and the chocolate kiss mice with sliced almond ears, complete with their own mouse traps. I didn’t know it then, but my buddy Angela had made the tuxedo strawberries, AND truffles with white chocolate centers.
The auction began, and so did the sampling. Everything was so rich I quickly became full, but I saved the extra samples to take to the dance class I was attending afterward. The best thing for me was when prize winners were announced: Angela won both the Wild Card Prize, and the Grand Prize! She richly deserved both. It’s a definite must-attend for me next year!!