With threatening skies days before the annual event, Mother Nature cooperated over the weekend, providing pleasant, but occasional cloudy, weather for the 24th Annual Oakdale Chocolate Festival.
Friday, while crews had just set up, winds had blown down a city tree on South Yosemite Avenue as forecasts of possible showers threatened the weekend.
It was not to be, though, as Saturday and Sunday saw mostly skies resulting in a crowd estimated at over 70,000 turn out for classic cars, entertainment, food, merchandise and crafts, and most of all, the chocolate. The centerpiece “Chocolate Avenue” was packed with festival goers and vendors selling their scrumptious treats and providing samples.
“The weather was perfect to walk around and visit all the vendors and activities,” said Oakdale Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Guardiola. “Many enjoyed all the things to do for families. It takes hundreds of volunteers to put this all together.”
The Oakdale Chamber of Commerce is the event’s sponsor with opportunities for proceeds going to a number of non-profit organizations. The event gathers attendees locally and from throughout the Bay Area, Sacramento Valley, the Central Valley and out-of-state.
Chocolate dipped fruit on a stick, truffles, pudding, chocolate covered nuts and more were among the offerings and there were plenty of other tasty creations to tempt the palates of festival attendees.
Music was nonstop on the Main Stage and there were the popular chocolate challenges and community groups performing on the Hawk stage as well.
Inside the Almond Pavilion, artists were displaying their works and some were creating pieces while visitors to the art show and sale looked on.
Adjacent to the Cowboy Museum, youngsters could try their hand at roping and climb on makeshift bulls and horses for photo opportunities.
Both days went smoothly overall, said officials.
“The Oakdale Chamber would like to thank the Oakdale community and businesses for participating and supporting this event,” Guardiola said.