By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
On Wednesday, March 1, Rainbow City officials and Mayor Terry John Calhoun announced the lineup and activities for the 12th Annual Alabama Chocolate Festival. The festival will take place at the Rainbow Plaza in Rainbow City on Saturday, April 1. Admission to the festival is free.
Calhoun commended city employees for volunteering their time to make the Chocolate Festival a success once again.
Once again the Festival will be preceded by the Treasure Chest Hunt. This year the Hunt will be a little different. On March 20, sponsor radio stations WQSB, Mix 102.9 and Power 107.5 will be giving one clue each day. The DJs will give the clue, and listeners must call at a certain time to make a guess. The grand prize is $1,000. The grand prize winner for the treasure hunt will be announced at the festival at 4:30 p.m. on the main stage.
The three chocolate fountains will return. The Greater Gadsden Tourism Board sponsored the fountains. The fountains will be open from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. or until the chocolate is gone. the fountain will be in a tent located next to the stage.
The Chocolate Taste-Off will feature four categories: Cakes, Pies, Candy and Everything Else Chocolate. Baked items should be received by 10:30 a.m., so that judging can take place from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. The taste-off will take place in a large white tent by the stage. For each category a first prize award of $100, a second prize award of $50 and a third prize award of $30 will be given. For the Best Overall Presentation, a $150 award will be given. After the judging is over, everyone is welcome to sample the entries.
The carnival will return to the plaza this year. Wristbands for $15 will be available on Friday only. Ticket prices are 22 for $25 or $1.25 a ticket.
At 11:15, the Egg Toss contest will be held. There are four categories in the event this year.
At this year’s festival, several drawings will take place at different times throughout the festival, at 12:14, 2:45 and 4:30 p.m. A ticket will be placed in the drawings each time a participant purchases a drink from the Pepsi Wagons. Tickets will also be available for $1 each. Participants must be present to win.
Rainbow City officials also announced this year’s Alabama Chocolate Festival lineup. The headliner, who will play from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m., is Collin Raye, a country music star from the 1990s. Raye had 24 top 10 records and 16 No. 1 hit songs. He was nominated for male vocalist of the year 10 times. Gospel group Southern Sound will play at 12:30 p.m. At 1:45 p.m., gospel group Exodus will take the stage. At 3 p.m., Still Kickin’ will perform. At 5 p.m., Them Dirty Roses will play.