Thousands of attendees came out to this year’s Oakdale Chocolate Festival and were not only greeted by entertaining acts, a classic car show, wandering mascots, and food and treats of every variety, but the weather cooperated for two sun-filled, yet not too warm, beautiful days.
“The weather is perfect this year,” said Alene DeBrito of The DeBrito Chocolate Factory, who has becoming to the annual event for the last nine years. “I’ve been here for the festival when it’s been raining and when it’s been 105 degrees.”
DeBrito’s booth featured over 50 different styles of caramel and chocolate-candied apples that were rated number one by the Wall Street Journal’s Food Section. Her scrumptious treats were also featured on an episode of the Food Network’s “Kid in a Candy Store.”
The desired classic indulgences sold fast off her display shelves and were quickly restocked.
Dan Quint, executive chef of the Oakdale Golf and Country Club, had a full house as he and his staff prepared chocolate wrapped wild boar bacon at the PG&E Cooking Stage. The lucky onlookers were treated to samples afterward.
The car show had several persons admiring the vintage classic cars, hot rods, and muscle cars lining both curbs of a block on South Yosemite Avenue.
Marshall Moletta’s restored 1975 Trans Am attracted many onlookers examining a photographic history of the car’s condition from day one in his possession through the restoration process he completed at Oakdale High School in 2009.
“That looks like something I used to have,” said Rafael Arrizano of Mountain House as he gazed into the car’s bright red finish reflecting the Sunday afternoon sun. “All the cars on this row are fabulous.”
According to his Moletta’s brother, Mason, who actually entered the car; Marshall Moletta couldn’t enjoy the attention his car was getting since he’s currently serving in the US Navy.
Donna Peterson of Turlock had her 1967 Camaro entered in the show and was attending her first Chocolate Festival.
“Isn’t this music great?” she said, referring to the ‘80s horn sounds of Threshold as they played a Chicago tune followed by a Huey Lewis selection at the nearby Sierra Railroad Dinner Train stage area. “I’ve been here both days and have really enjoyed it.”
One block over, Karen Huhn of Kitty Paws Stained Glass Creations on South Sierra thought the festival was going extremely well and had a jump in business during the event. She praised the festival staff for putting on such a well-planned event and hoped the city could do a similar wine and art show later in the year.
Chocolate Festival Committee Co-Chair Chris Elswick said this year was the smoothest she’s ever worked and credits the festival volunteers for making it a success.
“If it wasn’t for all the great volunteer groups we have, we couldn’t get this on track,” Elswick said. “The volunteers and groups make it a great community event. They’re fantastic.”
Oakdale Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Guardiola estimated this year’s crowd at over 75,000 individuals. With that, came over 3500 pounds of donated canned goods, double last year’s total, collected for the Oakdale Community Sharing Christian Center.
“We had great weather and lots of families came out to enjoy the Oakdale Chocolate Festival,” Guardiola said. “The chamber is proud to be the promoter of such a wonderful event that brings visitors to Oakdale for the weekend.”
Guardiola also thanked the many local merchants that participated and contributed to the festival to make it a success.