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Chocolate Festival- Sweet Smell Of Success
Choco F 5
Daniel McGinnis of the Cowboy Toffee Company based in Oakdale provides information and samples of The Legend Toffee named after well-known Oakdale roper Jerold Camarillo. - photo by RICHARD PALOMA/The Leader

With pleasant weather in the forecast for both days, the 21st annual Oakdale Chocolate Festival had thousands attend to enjoy the classic cars, entertainment, food, merchandise and crafts, and most of all, the chocolate.

“The 21st Annual Oakdale Chocolate Festival was a success.” said Oakdale Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Guardiola. “There were over 65,000 in attendance for the two days. It was great weather, great patrons and great visitor exposure to Oakdale.”

The Oakdale Chamber of Commerce is the event’s sponsor with opportunities for proceeds going to non-profit organizations.

The affair’s “Chocolate Avenue” was packed with festival goers and vendors selling their scrumptious treats and providing samples.

“We’re killing it here,” said Katherine Brubaker of Foxy’s Toffee, who made the trip from Santa Cruz. “I’m a first timer and it’s been fantastic with great people and the perfect weather.”

Temperatures were in the upper 80s for both days of the event.

Oakdale’s own Daniel McGinnis was displaying various chocolate covered flavors of his English toffee from the Cowboy Toffee Company.

“It’s so good it’ll break your heart and not your teeth,” McGinnis said of the soft style candy.

Cowboy Toffee is marked with special boxes showing the product was made in Oakdale.

McGinnis boasted of “The Legend” flavor as he provided samples.

We named it in honor of Jerold Camarillo,” said McGinnis. “He’s a world renowned team roping rodeo champion; a living American legend from Oakdale.”

The crowd enjoyed musical acts both days as well, offering a variety of musical styles. All the bands performing were new to the event this year.

“The musical groups have all been well-received,” said Chocolate Festival Music Chairperson Victoria Krippner. “They are all local bands showcasing their talent.

Krippner said the bands that perform at the Chocolate Festival do so at no cost to organizers.

“The performing groups are very generous at heart,” Krippner said.

The car show had several persons admiring the vintage classic cars, hot rods, and muscle cars lining both curbs of South Yosemite Avenue.

Jose Rio of Modesto and his restored 1967 Chevy Camaro brought in many onlookers.

“This is one of the shows I enjoy a lot,” said Rio. “Not because it’s close, but there’s lots going on.”

Rio pointed to around the corner from the car show as the sweet tunes of the 60s, 70s and 80s played all day by Threshold at the Sierra Railroad Dinner Train stage.

According to Guardiola, in addition to those attending from nearby locations from the Bay Area, Sacramento Valley and the Central Valley she met attendees from Oklahoma and Colorado and as far away as India.

“Many of our gate volunteers were truly ambassadors of Oakdale in finding out where they came from and making them feel welcome,” said Guardiola of festival visitors. “I would like to thank the over 350 volunteers that make this event such a success.”