- Ginny McCabe Contributing Writer
Love chocolate? Put Oxford in your sights.
Chocolate lovers, specialty chocolate vendors, artists and bakers will once again team up to bring “Chocolate Meltdown” to the Oxford Community Arts Center on Saturday, Jan. 20 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The annual fundraiser will benefit two local arts organizations – Oxford Community Arts Center and the Miami University Art Museum.
Sherri Krazl, co-chair of Chocolate Meltdown, said “Chocolate Meltdown” is a fun, delicious way to support the arts.
The event will feature vendors with chocolates for tasting, an amateur baking contest, an art exhibit, children’s activities, a silent auction as well as educational materials about chocolate.
“We have a great local draw. The bulk of the participants are families and community members, and we have guests that will drive up to an hour. So, we have attendees from Indiana, Eaton, Dayton, Hamilton and Cincinnati,” said Krazl.
This is an affordable, family-friendly event, she said, and it is at the time of the year when you need fun, indoor activities to get you out of the house.
With each admission, attendees will receive five tasting coupons to visit the vendors for free samples. Additional tickets may be purchased for a dollar each or six tickets for $5.
Children ages 12 and under are admitted free. There will be free children’s activities during the event, such as cupcake decorating, and pretzel dipping in chocolate (without tasting coupons). If children participate in the tasting areas, coupons are required.
Vendors will include bakers and chocolatiers to gourmet cooks and caterers. Visual artists will also participate. Monies raised will go to Miami University Art Museum and the Oxford Community Arts Center to support programming.
“Chocolate Meltdown” will feature a wide array of specialty chocolate items, handcrafted chocolates, baked-goods, chocolate-covered coffee beans, chocolate-covered bacon and more. More than a dozen vendors will participate, including Chocolates Latour, Ruby’s Chocolates, The Baking Diva, Graeter’s, Miami University Catering and more. In addition to tasting the chocolates, attendees may purchase items from the various vendors.
“This is something fun to do on a cold, winter day. It allows you to try something new. We have four or five new vendors this year. And, even the return vendors are bringing new things every time they come. On top of that, you have all the baked goods from people that are trying out recipes, and then to have the art exhibition in conjunction with all of it, and the trivia and fun activities, it’s just a well-rounded, family-friendly, fun afternoon.,” Krazl said.
The deadline to enter the “Anything Chocolate” bake-off competition is Fri., Jan. 5. The deadline to enter art in the “Bittersweet: A Chocolate Inspired Exhibition” is Fri., Jan. 12. More information and entry forms may be downloaded from the website at www.chocolatemeltdown.com. The art exhibition will remain on display at the Oxford Community Arts Center through Fri., Feb. 2nd.
In the future, “Chocolate Meltdown” will be held every other year, Krazl said.
“We did decide that we are going to start doing the event every other year. So, we moved it back, later in the month of January by one weekend, because usually it would be one week earlier. And that’s the weekend in the off years that Hamilton has their IceFest. So, we moved it, so we wouldn’t be on the same year they are on, and our hope is maybe we can get some of the chocolate vendors to participate in IceFest, and when IceFest is not going on, hopefully, we can get people from Hamilton, who are looking for something to do, to come to Oxford,” she said.
Each year, an average of 300 to 500 guests have attended the event over the past few years.