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Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

Cindy Yang of San Francisco was looki...


POSTED May 19, 2009 3:12 p.m.
The 17th annual Oakdale Chocolate Festival saw record heat on Sunday, May 17 with temperatures hitting 107 and sending many scurrying for the misters or any spot of shade but in spite of the heat, 43,000 people spent at least part of their weekend in Oakdale, sampling chocolate and perusing vendor booths.
“With the exception of the heat, everyone had a great time,” said Mary Guardiola, Chief Executive Officer of the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce. “We were up in numbers on Saturday from last year but down on Sunday because it was just so hot.”
Saturday hit the century mark, while Sunday saw another several degrees added on to the high temperature for the day. The average temperature for the third week in May is 88 degrees, said Guardiola.
“But this is only the third year since starting this festival in 1993 that we’ve had temperatures over 100 degrees,” Guardiola said. “Two years we had rain.”
There were 155 vendors with 18 of those offering chocolate of some kind and many vendors have already given deposits to secure their spot for next year.
There were a few heat-related injuries from heat exhaustion but that’s to be expected when the temperature gets that high, Guardiola said.
Overall, many of the chocolate vendors reported giving out fewer samples but sold more product.
“And that’s good because that’s what they’re hoping to do…sell product,” Guardiola said.
There were many first-time festival goers, many coming from significant distances, such as Cindy Yang from San Francisco.
“We wanted to see what it was like,” Yang said of making the trip to Oakdale for the annual festival.
Another visitor, Sharron Gonzalez, came with her family from Tracy.
“We just recently moved to Tracy and we heard about the Chocolate Festival on the radio. We didn’t know much about the area so we decided to take a drive,” she said.
Gonzalez said, in spite of the heat, they were enjoying themselves.
“It’s definitely pretty hot,” she said.
Rows of classic cars attracted plenty of people as they perused the restored vehicles that were polished and pretty for the festival while the agricultural area sponsored by Oakdale Irrigation District enjoyed lots of little visitors with pony rides and fun brain-teasers testing their knowledge of where everyday food items come from like milk and nuts. There were also performances of a Wild West gun show, complete with a safety lesson, and lots of musical acts taking to the stage for some entertainment.
The heat was so intense the breaker blew Saturday that helped cool Chocolate Avenue but other than that, festival coordinators were pleased with the event.

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