Chocolatefest

Comedian, writer, presenter and actress Jo Brand once said, “Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.” Prepare for a heaping amount of goodness Saturday in the form of Chocolatefest Knoxville, to be held at the World’s Fair Exhibition Hall.

“I think that by the end of January, most people have blown their New Year’s resolution diet, and they are ready for something sweet,” promoter Jennifer Johnsey told The Daily Times. “The event is put together by chocolate lovers for chocolate lovers. It’s also a great benefit, as the $5 admission fee is donated to the Knoxville Ronald McDonald House.”

Many items are exclusively made for the show. The show will also have sugar-free and gluten-free treats.

“We try to have something for everybody,” Johnsey said. “We don’t want anyone to feel left out.”

Most of our chocolatiers (vendors) are area bakers, caterers and restaurant owners that bring items you cannot find at a regular store,” Johnsey said. “All of our vendors will be selling unique packaged products and gifts for Valentine’s Day.”

Joe Hart and his wife run Candy by Ro. This will mark the fifth year they have appeared at Chocolatefest.

“Our top seller will be the peanut butter fudge,” Hart said. “Other big sellers are the chocolate-covered bacon strips and the chocolate-dipped jalapenos. We always sell out of both of those items. We will also have chocolate-covered pretzels, coconut balls, sugar-free candies and espresso beans dipped in dark chocolate.”

Festival attendees can purchase a $25 VIP ticket, which includes sampling a large variety of chocolate.

“The VIP chocolate tasting is one of the main attractions at Chocolatefest, and it typically sells out,” Johnsey said. “VIPs will sit down and our volunteers will hand out the chocolate. The emcee will tell people what they are eating and which vendor made it.”

New this year is the $1 sampling ticket. “It is another option for individuals who might not be interested in the VIP ticket because they want a little chocolate instead of a lot,” Johnsey said.

Another new addition to the festival is Sugarbaker’s chocolate fountain, which will flow white, milk and dark chocolate. Children will have a chance to burn their energy at the Lollipop Kid’s Area. The Little Miss Chocolatefest Pageant will give children ages 4 through 10 the opportunity to take the spotlight.

Amateurs and experts alike will appear in the 2020 Cake, Cookie and ChocolART competition. The contest has three categories: junior (ages 17 and under), adult (ages 18 and older), and professional (anyone who has a business selling cakes/cookies/chocolate items).

Live entertainment will be on stage.

“We are extremely excited to have The Tenos perform at the event,” Johnsey said. “They are a family consisting of (a couple) and their four adult children. They play bluegrass, old time (music) and gospel. They are very talented and have a big following in East Tennessee.”

Other performances scheduled include country singer/songwriter Shaun Abbott, Gage and Ashley Sharp, The Amazing Magic Show and The Dance Centre.

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