Burlington opens its doors Memorial Day Weekend and invites the public to its annual ChocolateFest.

“The World of Chocolate” runs May 23-26, takes on an international theme this year, but chocolate remains the star of the show.

The Chocolate Experience Tent will again be dedicated to the creamy confection with a plethora of vendors, contests and events. Among the new activities are Choco-Pong (think a wholesome version of the college drinking game) and a Chocolate Hunt Around the World.

The popular Chef Meltdown competition returns along with chocolate cooking demonstrations, eating contests and the Chocolate Marketplace.

But even the rare person who doesn’t love chocolate will find plenty of fun at ChocolateFest. Three stages offer nearly continuous entertainment – from the All-American Lumberjack Show to live music performances by artists such as Pat McCurdy and the popular Toys – for all tastes.

And if that’s not enough, consider some of the other events such as a Friday night fireworks display, the Jaycees arts and crafts fair and the community Memorial Day parade.

And, for the daredevils among us, there’s the Burlington Rotary Carnival featuring North American Midway Entertainment, which many consider to be the best traveling outdoor amusement park in the country.

The best part of ChocolateFest? The festival is a major fundraiser for many of the area’s non-profit organizations that provide the volunteer workforce for the festival. Last year ChocolateFest generated nearly $100,000 for these groups, who poured the money back into a variety of community program’s and services. Since it’s inception in 1989, the festival has generated more than $2 million for these charitable organizations.

Here’s a list of the frequently asked questions regarding the festival:

COST OF ADMISSION: Children 4 and under – free; Children 5-12 – $2.50; people over the age of 12 – $8. Tickets are available at the gate, so you will be able to enjoy the festival despite not being about to purchase advance tickets.

FESTIVAL HOURS: Wednesday, May 21 – 5p.m.-close – No gate admission fee – carnival only; Thursday, May 22, – 5 p.m. close, no gate admission fee – carnival only; Friday, May 23, 4 p.m.-midnight Fireworks at dusk; Saturday, May 24, 10 a.m. – midnight; Sunday, May 25, 10 a.m. – midnight; Monday, May 26, noon – 8 p.m.

EVENTS GALORE: The Chocolate Experience Tent (which houses the chocolate vendors, chef demonstrations, chocolate eating contests, and a variety of family friendly activities) hours are: Friday, May 23, 4 – 9 p.m.; Saturday, May 24, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sunday, May 25, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Monday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Chocolate vendors charge for the chocolate items they sell. You may also purchase a Taster Ticket for $6 in the Chocolate Experience Tent that allows you to sample 10 items from pre-determined chocolate vendors. There are various other activities in the Chocolate Tent that are free.

All of the festival entertainment is free.

COST FOR OTHER ACTIVITIES: In addition to the entrance ticket costs, there are activities that cost additional money. There is a large selection of food and other vendors (T-shirts, etc.) who charge for their fare. We also have a carnival which charges for its rides. You may purchase a wristband to ride unlimited rides during certain time periods.

CARNIVAL RIDE WRISTBAND HOURS: (Tickets on site $25) Wednesday 5 p.m. – close; Thursday 5p.m. – close; Friday, not available; Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – close; Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – close; Monday noon – close.

Individual tickets for rides are $1.25, 22 tickets for $25, or 55 tickets for $60.

HOW MUCH TIME DO I NEED? This all depends on what you chose to do when you get here. Many families return multiple days to see specific entertainment, enjoy carnival rides, and participate in the Chocolate Experience Tent activities.

WHO RUNS THE FESTIVAL: Burlington’s ChocolateFest is run completely by volunteers. The volunteers work on behalf of non-profit organizations to earn money for their organization. So, in that sense, dozens of non-profit organization are represented at the festival. Our vendors and the carnival, however, represent themselves (and not our non-profit groups or the festival). The festival operations committee also consists of all volunteers.

NO CARRY-INS: Carry-ins are not allowed.

BATHROOMS: The festival has portable toilets in various places around the grounds.

CARNIVAL RIDES: The festival includes the world’s largest traveling carnival – it is a set-up and take down operation.

INFORMATION: See more at: www.chocolatefest.com

 

 
 

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