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Fruitopia was a popular first time vendor at the Chocolate Festival in 2014, bringing chocolate covered fruit and crepes all the way from Southern California.

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new vendor on hand this year offering handmade caramels. Festival admission is $6 for those 12 and over, those under 12 are admitted free. There are discount tickets available prior to the event and if a canned food item is brought in the day of the event, festival goers will get a dollar off admission. This fee allows the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce to give back to 15 to 20 local clubs and organizations that help with the festival, providing them with a donation following the event, giving them ‘a cut’ of the proceeds. Oakdale was once home to a Hershey Chocolate plant and in the early years of the festival, they worked with the Chamber of Commerce and provided tours of the plant during the weekend. When the company moved, Chamber officials decided to maintain the festival and have been able to continue attracting huge crowds and plenty of chocolate-themed vendors. Sconza Candy Company, which now occupies the former Hershey plant, has become a mainstay of the festival Oakdale Chamber Chief Executive Officer Mary Guardiola said the Hershey tours were a great tie in, but noted that “the event has conCONTINUED ON PAGE 18 

The eventual winners in this challenge from a past festival, Emily Songer, 14, tries to get the sticky syrup into the plastic cup and keep it away from the head and face of teammate Lauren Wingfield, also 14, during a Chocolate Challenge.

APRIL/MAY 2015

PHOTO BY MARG JACKSON/ 209 Magazine

PHOTO BY VIRGINA STILL/ 209 Magazine

ankering for sweetness? Mosey on down to the 23rd Annual Chocolate Festival in Oakdale, where ‘Chocolates Gone Nuts’ again and will be filled with a variety of family fun, good food, entertainment and an assortment of tasty treats. The two-day fest is on the calendar for May 16 and 17 in downtown Oakdale. With almonds and walnuts being among the top five products of Stanislaus County and several orchards surrounding the area, it only made sense for the Oakdale District Chamber of Commerce to add nuts to the chocolate event and continue the same successful theme as last year. Over 30,000 acres of walnuts and almonds are within a seven-mile radius of Oakdale. The Chocolate Festival has doubled in venue size since the first fest in 1993, and through the years there has been an increased participation from local non-profit groups. The first year of the festival, chocolate tasting was held at the Community Center with only eight vendors and now the streets of downtown will burst with over 25 chocolate booths alone. Over 175 vendors will be on hand to offer a number of items like sweet treats, food items, crafts, clothing, collectibles and so much more. Black Tie Caramel will be a


209 Magazine - Issue 7