Chocolate Festival set for April 14


  It’s nearly time to indulge your sweet tooth in a local setting.

The 7th Annual Alabama Chocolate Festival is scheduled for April 14 in the Rainbow Plaza in Rainbow City.

Speaking at a press conference on March 7, Rainbow City Mayor Terry John Calhoun said that the municipality is expecting the biggest crowd to date.

“We had about 8,000 people last year, and this time we’re looking for between 8,000 to 10,000 people. As of yesterday, we have 48 food and arts and crafts vendors. We’re ahead of the pace from last year, so if you know somebody or you want to be a vendor, you’d better hurry before the spaces fill up. We’re about halfway there, and we still have about five weeks to go. Plus, every vendor has to give away some chocolate!”

Calhoun said that the City of Rainbow City itself would give away 3,000 chocolate bars.

Calhoun also said that the popular “Treasure Hunt for the Pot of Gold at the End of Rainbow…City” would be back, noting that as of Wednesday the Treasure Chest contains $4,215, including $2,000 in cash. He said the first clue would be announced on both MIXX-102.9 and WQSB radio stations on March 15, with another clue released every Thursday morning until the festival. 

Treasure hunt participants will find certificates for the items, not the items themselves. He also said that the certificates are not hidden in hard-to-find locations such as trees or underground and that no climbing will be necessary. All items are hidden within Rainbow City proper and that the hiding places may not be accessible during certain hours of the day and night.

Found certificates may be verified by calling the Chamber at 256-543-3472 and bring the certificate to the Chamber offices located at 1 Commerce Square (off Walnut Street) in Gadsden.

The Taste-Off competition includes a $50 first place prize, a $30 second place prize and a $20 third place prize in each category of cakes, pies and candy. In addition, a $100 prize will be awarded for Best Presentation.

John Jones Elementary School third grader Jennifer Clontz of Kelly Smith’s class won the competition for creating the official 2012 Alabama Chocolate Festival logo. Jennifer’s logo will be featured on the official tee shirts. She was awarded a $25 Visa gift card from Exchange Bank. Jennifer’s class will be treated to a pizza party. Jennifer’s logo included the phrase “I Came, I Saw, I Dipped.”

Calhoun also announced a new addition for the 2012 edition  – a six-foot tall chocolate fountain sponsored by the Etowah County Tourism Board. He said that attendees could visit the fountain as many times as they wish inside the old Book Corner store.

Calhoun also said the carnival, including the Bungi Jump, would return and open on Friday night.

The event schedule is as follows:

10 a.m. – festival opens

10-10:30 a.m. – receiving bakes items for the Taste-Off at old CVS building

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Taste-Off judging

11 a.m. – Chocolate Tent opens

11-11:30 a.m. – Chug-a-lug and Egg Toss Registration

11:45 a.m. – Chug-a-lug

12 p.m. – Egg Toss

1 – 4 p.m. – Chocolate Fountain opens

1 – 2 p.m. – Players

2:15 – 3:15 – Evan Walker

3 – 6 p.m. – Sponsor Area opens (old CVS building)

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. – Jen Moody

4:30 – 4:45 – Treasure Hunt, Taste-Off, Egg Toss and Chug-a-lug winners announced

5 – 6 p.m. – Chuck Wagon Gang

6:30- 8 p.m. – Bellamy Brothers

  The 2012 Treasure Chest contributors are City of Rainbow City (cash), The Chamber (four RiverFest tickets), Rainbow City Fire Department (throw), Nail Star (manicure), Daizy Bleu Salon (haircut), Images (five haircuts), Lowe’s Home Improvement (commercial grill), Uncle Sam’s BBQ ($15 gift certificate), Solar Nails (pedicure), Athena Day Spa (pedicure), Interstate Batteries (gift certificate), Super Bee Pharmacy (thermos, light), City Tan (120 minutes), El Tapatio (two $20 gift cards), Goodyear (set of passenger vehicle tires), Don’s Paint and More (two gallons of paint), Family Savings (Visa gift card), anonymous (three Itune cards, Brighton earrings, snuggie), Rivertown Café (gift card), The Avenue ( gift certificate), Walgreen’s (gift card), Exchange Bank (gold dollars), CVS (binoculars, heated travel mug), Advance Auto Parts (battery charger) and Cato Fashion (gift certificate). 

Signature sponsors include Pepsi, City of Rainbow City, Rainbow Plaza Associates, LTD, MIXX 102.9 FM/WQSB FM, the Etowah County Tourism Board and State Senator Phil Williams. Gold Sponsors include Alabama Power, Etowah County Tourism Board and the Etowah County Commission (Tim Choate and Jeff Overstreet). Silver sponsors include Exchange Bank, McCord Communications, Holiday Inn Express and the Etowah County Commission (Tim Choate and Jeff Overstreet). Bronze sponsors include Butler Electric, Gadsden Golf Carts, Gadsden Aviation and Trent Thrasher Construction. Patron sponsors include CDG Engineers, Cintas Corporation, Green Valley Speedway, James E. Watts & Sons, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama and Richard’s Motors. 

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