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Crowd Flows To Community To Enjoy Chocolate Festival
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Among the vendors under the tent for Chocolate Avenue was Grandpa’s Family Fudge, which had several different varieties of the sweet treat for sale, many featuring chocolate, at the Oakdale Chocolate Festival on May 21 and 22. Marg Jackson/The Leader

Back at its traditional time on the third weekend of May, there was music, corn hole, lots of food booths, classic cars, cool treats, unique art and gemstones … all the ingredients combining to serve up the fun at the Oakdale Chocolate Festival.

Put on by the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, this year was the 30th annual fest, which was staged on Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22. It covered a portion of South Yosemite Avenue and also saw booths in Wood Park and scattered throughout some side streets as well.

“This weekend was another successful event for the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce. We still had many challenges to navigate through after these past two years, but we continue to move in a positive direction to support our businesses and community,” noted Oakdale Chamber CEO Trisha K. Brown.

The crowd turnout was good on both days, with sunny weather but a breeze that helped keep temperatures tolerable, and there was plenty for festival goers to see and do.

Still, Brown said this 30th anniversary year didn’t quite show the participation levels by vendors as they have seen in the past, pre-pandemic.

“Many are still struggling and unfortunately were unable to join us this year,” she explained. “We look forward to continuing to use the Oakdale Chocolate Festival as an opportunity for organizations of all types and sizes to grow and thrive in Oakdale.”

A music stage featured almost non-stop entertainment and many youngsters jumped at the chance to pose for photos with Buzz Lightyear or Grogu, just a couple of the characters on hand for ‘Meet and Greets.’

The majority of those attending the festival this year went without masks, though a few were in evidence in the crowd.

Also this year, the Oakdale Cowboy Museum opened its doors and welcomed people in for tours, along with providing some crafts and activities for kids.

The classic car show brought plenty of shined up vehicles to town and the corn hold tournament had multiple teams competing.

A mechanical bull, super slide and lots of inflatables and bounce house provided an area for kids, while there was also the popular Bungee Jumping activity and Water Ballerz.

Something for every taste and thirst was available along the food row and vendors also had a variety of wares for sale, from tie-dyed T-shirts to artwork, trinkets and toys for kids to handmade jewelry.

The Chocolate Avenue area had vendors with sweet treats, some chocolate, and many offered samples for festival goers to try as well.

Runners toed the line in the fun run mile and the 5k on Saturday morning, kicking off the weekend festivities.

With applause from the crowd cheering him on, young Hudson DeAtley, 2, crosses the finish line with a smile in the Oakdale Chocolate Festival one-mile fun run on Saturday, May 21. He ran the event with his mom, Kylie, who said it was his first run but likely won’t be his last, as he kept up a good pace on the route. Marg Jackson/The Leader
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Performing on stage for the Oakdale Chocolate Festival on Saturday afternoon was Lina Crouson of Lodi, part of the 20th Century Fox group from VMI, Valley Music Institute. Several different bands from VMI were featured throughout the day on Saturday, May 21 with other local bands performing Sunday. Marg Jackson/The Leader