by Claudia Sherman
Winner of the 2011 Jewish Federation of Omaha’s Community Service Award, National Council of Jewish Women’s Great Omaha Chocolate Festival is back for the third year in a row and in a new place. Formerly at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Field House, the Chocolate Festival will be at the Embassy Suites/La Vista Conference Center from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6. The Conference Center is located at 12520 Westport Parkway (I-80 and Giles Road).
“There’s more than enough free parking” at the new venue, explained Jan Fischer, general chairman of the Chocolate Festival. “It’s pretty enough for a wedding” and access for Lincoln businesses and patrons is closer. “It’s bigger and there’s more room for booths and attendees,” she added. “The whole event is a lot classier” in the new location.
Many former vendors are returning with drinkable chocolate, candy, baked goods, breads, rolls, candy-imprinted stationery, chocolate popcorn, ice treats, and yogurt. “Baker’s Candies, our corporate sponsor for all three years of the Chocolate Festival, even introduced chocolate covered potato chips one year,” Fischer mentioned.
“It was really fantastic,” agreed Helen Epstein. “It drew people from all over the city, all walks of life, and was something kids could do with their families and grandparents could do with their grandchildren. It was fun to taste all the samples, and it was a really nice community event that involved the city.” She added, “Chocolate makes you happy, and it was a happy event. We need a few of those!”
Miles Remer, who sold tickets with his wife Eileen, agreed. “I was very impressed and thought it was a huge success.”
Among the newest vendors, reported Fischer, are Just Pop’d, BeautiControl (chocolate lotions), and Stories Coffeehouse, a combination of six businesses including Alotta Brownies Bakery, The Cordial Cherry, Noni’s Popcorn, L Pastries, Chocolate Poet, and Homemade by Amber. Some 40 vendors are expected altogether.
Admission to the Chocolate Festival is $3 for two- to ten-year-olds which is worth three free samples. For anyone older, admission is $5 which entitles them to five free samples of chocolate. Additional sample tickets can be purchased, or products can be purchased directly from vendors.