by Dani Horn
The City of Glendale will hold its annual chocolate festival next weekend at Murphy Park in Historic Downtown Glendale Jan. 30-31.
“Some vendors do make their items on site and it’s neat to watch some of them; however, some vendors make their confections off-site and prepackage them,” said Glendale Public Information Officer, Kim Larson.
The festival celebrates love, and the love of chocolate, with a huge variety of sugary favorites such as chocolate covered strawberries and bananas, chocolate kabobs, fudge popsicles, fried and chocolate dipped Snickers and Twinkies, chocolate drizzled popcorn and much, much more.
Aside from all the chocolate consuming, visitors can tour the Cerreta Candy Factory to see just how their favorite sweets are made. They can also take in the music of past Affaire performers as well as fresh, new local tunes.
“It’s a mixture of both. Many of our entertainers have been here in years past and have a good following, so we book them again,” said Larson. “But we always seek out new talent, as well, to keep the event fresh and interesting for attendees. And many performers approach us too. With a free festival, we look for good local talent that is affordable for our budget.”
This year, the festival takes place during Super Bowl XLIX weekend, also happening here in Glendale. Organizers have set up ‘Super Street’ at the Affaire to welcome both the numerous visiting and Arizonan attendees of the big game. It will feature football themed chocolates and activities.
“Average attendance is about 85,000 people,” said Larson. “It’s hard to predict, but we are definitely hoping to bring some out-of-town visitors to the event, with not only the amazing chocolate and entertainment we always have. We will have all kinds of team décor and things like free t-shirts being thrown in the crowd, stuff like that.”
Little Chocolate Affaire attendees can also participate in crafts, rock-wall climbing, face-painting and games.
Phoenix resident and Affaire goer Mandy Mendivil will be taking her children this weekend for their first time at the festival.
“The first thing we’re gonna try is the chocolate covered Twinkies,” said Mendivil. “I’m gonna get them all hyped up on the sugar first so they can burn it all off in the bouncers and rock climbing later.”
After 20 years, the Glendale Chocolate Affaire is still a beautiful setting for great dates too, all kinds of great dates.
“It’s definitely an event for everyone, whether it’s a date for a couple or a family,” said Larson. “It’s a fun outdoor activity, the weather will be great and it’s free admission, so definitely reasonable, and the activities like the entertainment and the chocolate tour will be fun and unique as a date experience!”
The event will be open from 12 p.m.-10 p.m. on Jan. 3- and 10 a.m.- 10 p.m. on Jan. 31.