By FRAN MAYE
More than 1,800 chocolate lovers flocked to the second annual Chocolate Lovers Festival in Kennett Square Sunday, setting an attendance record.
So many people came to the event, in fact, that officials are considering using timed tickets next year.
The fund-raiser for the United Way of Southern Chester County raised more than $16,000, and the proceeds from that will go to helping needy people and organizations locally.
“People want their chocolate, and they came in droves,” said Carrie Freeman, executive director of the United Way of Southern Chester County. “This event was only possible because of the wonderful community members who baked for us.”
More than 200 local residents and restaurant employees baked cakes, cupcakes, brownies, candy, and cookies and donated it to the event. There were 30 judges.
Freeman said the $5 cost of admission was to encourage people to come out. “We intentionally kept the cost inexpensive because we want it to be a family event,” she said.
Last year’s Chocolate Festival was held at the Red Clay Room in Kennett Square and attracted 1,400 people, and raised $9,000.
Freeman said the fund-raiser comes at a critical time – just one month before the United Way’s allocation period where funds are distributed. This year, the United Way of Southern Chester county has requests for more than $1.1 million.
Richard Leff, a newly elected supervisor in Kennett Township and a judge at the chocolate festival, said he was impressed with what he tasted.
“Who knows what the students had to do given the snow and power outages, but somehow they persevered to get the job done,” he said. “Students were creative and had put great effort into their submissions. We were thrilled with the quality. What a great event to build community and support United Way. Kennett High School students took many top prizes.”
Said Matt Fetick, Kennett Square mayor and chocolate festival judge: “I love this event. It was a fun day raising money for the United Way. The chocolate was awesome and it was really hard to determine the winners. They were all great.”
Restaurant professionals, amateur chefs and students ages 12 and up will competed for bragging rights and ribbons. The big winners this year were The Gables Restaurant, Hotel DuPont, Two Stones Pub in Kennett Square, Victory Brewing Co., and Pescatore’s Restaurant in Golen Mills.
The United Way of Southern Chester County serves the residents of four Pennsylvania school districts: Avon Grove, Kennett, Oxford, and Unionville-Chadds Ford. Over 30 different health and human service programs and over 13,000 people received support from UWSCC last year.
“We are just thrilled at the growth of this fund-raiser,” Freeman said.
Professional Brownies: The Gables at Chadds Ford
Professional Cakes: Andrea Brandli
Professional Candies: Alexander’s Bread & Baking Company
Professional Cookies: Country Butcher
Professional Cupcakes: Alexander’s Bread & Baking Company
Amateur Brownies: Linda Young
Amateur Cakes: Jennifer England
Amateur Candies: Joe Ambrosino
Amateur Cookies: Mary Ruth Johnson
Amateur Cupcakes: Kelly D’Andrade
Student Brownies: Madison Bowe
Student Cakes: Jordyn Darga
Student Candies: Emma Schmidt
Student Cookies: Kennett High School Family Consumer Science Students
Student Cupcakes: Kennett High School Family Consumer Science Students