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Decadence Ruled at Chocolate Festival

Chocolate lovers were in heaven at the NCO Youth & Family Services 8th Annual Chocolate Festival held Saturday at Neuqua Valley Freshman Center.

Chocolate addicts were more than welcome Saturday at the 8th Annual Chocolate Festival held at .

hosts the fundraising event every year to benefit its mission of providing life-changing services to youth through prevention education, counseling and shelter.

Chocolate lovers could find fondue, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, and chocolate covered strawberries all under one roof. Children and adults were in chocolate heaven as they got nibbled on samples from vendors and tasted the results of cooking demonstrations.

“It’s a chocolate on your face kind of day,” said Dawn Portner, special events coordinator for NCO.  The chocolate festival is one of the organizations three major fundraisers and possibly the most family friendly.  “It’s cost effective, good winter fun and who doesn’t like chocolate?”

In the kids’ kitchen, Patti Mocerino from The Pampered Chef helped children decorate their own cupcakes. Choosing their frosting and toppings, they made cupcake masterpieces.

Many families came out for the family time including Tim Arrenius and his children Sophia, 20 months and Bradyn, 6.

“We all love chocolate and it was a great way to spend time together,” said Arrenius.

Dave and Audrey Bokuniewicz, of Naperville, said they have been coming to the festival for three years. This year they came early specifically to see Dave Savini.

“The guest demonstrators are fun and it’s great to see them out of their normal realm,” said Audrey.

Dave Savini, from CBS 2 News, demonstrated his knockoff Portillo’s chocolate cake in the adults’ kitchen.  The secret?  Mayonnaise.  He also shared his special chocolate chip cookies made with vanilla pudding. Jenna Monnett from Tastefully Simple offered her tricks on using the company’s products to spice up brownies and a trifle.

Along with the chocolate there was a variety of entertainment. The family entertainment room, featured the McNulty Irish Dancers, Storm Dance Alliance, Chorelles and more. In the family fun room there were martial art demonstrations, bean bag toss, bounce house, sensory play items from and balloon artists.

Mayor George Pradel was happy to be a judge again this year in the Sweet Treats Bake-Off.

“It’s a great festival to bring everyone together,” Pradel said.  “Who doesn’t love chocolate?  And you can use it in so many ways!” 

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