St. Mary’s School is getting sweeter by the day as the 24th annual Chocolate Festival approaches.
The Chocolate Festival is planned for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on the school grounds, 118 York St. S.E., and in the school buildings. St. Angela Hall will house the International Cafe, a used book sale, a trash and treasures sale, a silent auction and Miss Aiken Idol hopefuls competing onstage.
On the grounds will be carnival rides, games, an outdoor stage for live entertainment including local band Southern Comfort, T-shirt sales and information booths. In other buildings will be the bake sale, frozen casserole sale and Friends of the Aiken County Animal Shelter pet adoptions.
The centerpiece of the festival will be the Chocolate Carousel, a round dessert stand of goodies prepared by St. Mary’s parents and the congregation of St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church. Desserts are already coming in for the bake sale and the carousel, according to festival chair Rosemarie Adams.
“I think this festival brings the whole community together. We’ve had tremendous support from the church; several church organizations actually help by running the cotton candy sales and activities, and the Catholic Women’s Association runs the Chocolate Carousel. Church families also donated food for the bake sale and the casserole sale, the books and Trash and Treasures. We expect the food to really start coming in Friday; we’ve rented two refrigerators and we’ll keep it all in the cafeteria,” Adams said.
The festival also brings the community together in charitable giving, according to Adams. Shepeard Community Blood Center will have the bloodmobile on site collecting donations, and other community organizations will have information booths about their services to offer the public Saturday.
Admission to the festival is free; rides and games will require the purchase of tickets, and food, T-shirts and used item sales will also cost. Proceeds from the Chocolate Festival go into the school’s fund to provide financial assistance to qualifying families who wish to enroll a student, Adams said.
According to publicity chair Monica Benjamin, the Chocolate Festival’s fundraising potential is vast.
“It’s the thing to look forward to every year,” Benjamin said. “We have a couple thousand people come through during the festival day. It seems to be growing more every year.”
Suzanne Stone is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard. She is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design and studied communications at Augusta State University. She is a native of Augusta, Ga. Follow Suzanne Stone on Twitter at #SuzanneRStone and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ASSuzanneStone.