Chocolate lovers converge on the beach this weekend

Imagine a beach covered with five miles of chocolate.

That’s what organizers of this year’s Chocolate on the Beach Festival envision this weekend, with events from Copalis Beach to Moclips.

The festival supports historical, educational and community programs on the North Beach, in Grays Harbor County and statewide — providing an affordable, family fun event through love of chocolate.

“We are so excited to announce our first official Chocolate on the Beach Festival Grant participants for the 2013 year,” said Stephanie Allestad, festival president and coordinator.

The grant participants list includes: Grays Harbor Volunteer Search & Rescue (GHVSAR); Captain Bluebird; Grays Harbor Fire District 8; Paddle to Quinault — 2013; Copalis Community Church Food Bank; Summer Free Lunch Program.

Allestad said the festival embraces the theme: “It’s always raining chocolate the last weekend in February.” And events are scheduled, rain or shine.

“There is usually some really fun weather the weekend of the festival, and we embrace it. Storm watchers love it,” she said.

This year the festival begins Friday with evening events around Pacific Beach. The chocolate starts flowing at 7 a.m. on Saturday with a pancake breakfast benefiting the GHVSAR.

Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. about 40 vendors are serving up something chocolate for everyone at the school and at at the Navy base. Movies, chefs classes, bowling for chocolate, free kids activities and a host of chocolate items are available, including organic, fair trade, gluten and sugar free, vegan and other chocolate delights you could never imagine, according to Allestad

Local author and artist Sheryl Jackson will have her Huckleberry Creek display in the silent auction room, with a kids reading nook area. Other events include a chocolate recipe contest, a chocolate cocktail “throwdown” and even a Chocolate Sundae Sunday at the Chapel by the Sea Church.

Admission is $5 for adults and $1 for kids 13-17. The fee is good for both days and includes all vendor buildings, cooking demos and kids events. The website is being updated daily with more events and venues. If you want to get your chocolate and a festival shirt for free, volunteers are always needed. Contact the “Chocolate Lady” Stephanie Allestad at (360) 276-0009.