Chocolate Lovers Festival

Chocolate truffles, chocolate mocktails and chocolate-covered strawberries! Oh my!

A chocolate delicacy to satisfy nearly every desire was available at the Eureka Springs Chocolate Lovers Festival the afternoon of Saturday, March 23, at the Eureka Springs Community Center.

Guests paid $25 each to get in the door and sample favorites from restaurants and sweet shops near and far. About 20 vendors were represented, including Three Bird Café, Grotto Wood Fired Grill/Wine Cave, Colossal Cupcakes and Cones, Spring on Main and Eureka Springs Eats and Sweets. Unique chocolate bites were also offered by Kilwins from Branson Landing and Little Portion Bakery, a ministry of John Michael and Viola Talbot’s Little Portion Hermitage and Monastery on Country Road 248 in Berryville.

Misty Hunter of Exeter, Mo., brought her five children. “I was glad there was more to it than just chocolate,” she said, ogling over art by Christina Elkins. “After all, it IS Eureka Springs, where there’s little something for everybody, right?”

Several merchants and eateries followed up their samples with sales as many guests left with bags of goodies to-go. Some of the more unusual offerings: Chocolate body scrubs and face masks.

Kristy Balthazor with the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce said the festival raised about $10,000, which included funds from a $50 vendor participation fee. The affair is one of two events hosted by the chamber each year to raise money to promote its members, she said.

About 500 people attended, with a steady stream of folks coming and going throughout the afternoon. Only half the tickets were sold in advance to assure the vendors would have enough goods to last through the event and accommodate walk-ins, Balthazor said.

(Story and photos by Cyd King)

Dawn and David Bagwell, owners of Kilwins at Branson Landing
Jerry and Holly Keller
Rayna McDermott of Three Bird Cafe with Kristy Balthazor
Scott and artist Christina Elkins
Brother Max Ouiedo, Sister Mary Catherine and Brothers & Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage foundress Viola Talbot