Chocolate lovers invited to have ‘Meltdown’ in Oxford

The Oxford Community Arts Center and the Miami University Art Museum will present Chocolate Meltdown from 1 to 5 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Oxford Community Arts Center. Children and adults alike enjoyed chocolate at a previous Chocolate Meltdown. CONTRIBUTED

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The Oxford Community Arts Center and the Miami University Art Museum will present Chocolate Meltdown from 1 to 5 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Oxford Community Arts Center. Children and adults alike enjoyed chocolate at a previous Chocolate Meltdown. CONTRIBUTED

Event takes place in multiple spots

If you like chocolate, an upcoming event in Uptown Oxford requires your presence.

The annual Chocolate Meltdown is slated for Jan. 15 and has expanded this year to local businesses as well as the familiar location at the Community Arts Center.

The Chocolate Meltdown started in 2015 at the arts center as a joint fundraiser and community engagement event for the Oxford Community Arts Center and the Miami University Art Museum. It was conducted annually until 2018 when the decision was made to hold it every two years. It was held in January of 2020 before the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of that year.

It now expands its focus with plans to return to an annual event this month and to involve Uptown businesses plus more activities.

OCAC Executive Director Heidi Schiller said planning for the event began in July with that expansion in mind, including the city and the chamber of commerce in the discussion.

“We really need something to happen in January,” Schiller said. “We changed from an engagement event for two organizations to, now, a community event. A lot of people had a lot of ideas.”

There will also be family-themed activities in the parks in the afternoon with inflatables for the kids from 1-5 p.m.

The event will run from 1 to 7 p.m. beginning in the Uptown parks until 5 p.m. and overlapping by two hours with the OCAC portion of the day, which runs from 3 to 7 p.m. Admission is free with tasting tickets available both pre-sale and day-of in packets of 6, 12 or 24 coupons. They are redeemable for tastings at participating business locations Uptown as well as tastings from vendors and the Chocolate Bar Happy Hour at the main event at the OCAC. Additional tasting coupons will be $1 each, six for $5, 12 for $10, 24 for $20.

Chocolate Meltdown and more will stretch from Church Street through the Uptown Park and over to the main tasting event and Chocolate Bar at the OCAC.

Adding to the event is the fact the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) will also be in place that day allowing the purchase of adult beverages and permitting their consumption in public within the boundaries of the DORA. Businesses were asked to provide their favorite chocolate drink or food item for the day.

Chamber of Commerce President Kelli Riggs has been soliciting business members to participate and noted it is not limited to restaurants and bars.

“We tried to get businesses to participate. With winter and Miami’s J-Term, we just want to get people in the doors,” she said. “They were asked to offer a sample of a chocolate drink or chocolate item.”

As an example, she cited You’re Fired which is offering hot chocolate and free studio fee for the day of the event. Wild Berry is offering chocolate samples in the front of the store and “adult” brownies in the back room.

Others are Church Street Social which is offering a Godiva chocolate martini and hot chocolate and Graeter’s Ice Cream which will have hot chocolate samples at their store and will also be one of the vendors inside the Oxford Community Arts Center.

Riggs said the samples will be in exchange for one ticket, while the larger items will be three tickets.

The city is also involved in the day’s activities. Oxford Parks and Recreation Director Casey Wooddell said they are presenting the Ninja Warriors Course and a giant inflatable obstacle course.

“It should be fun for just about any kids through college age to enjoy one or both,” Wooddell said, adding they will also have their Gaga Pit and Jinga Game. “We will make the Uptown parks a fun activity area for the afternoon. We will have carriage rides from 3 to 5 p.m. between the parks and arts center. People can get off at the arts center or just ride.”

The recreation director is pleased to have his department involved in the Chocolate Meltdown as part of a joint effort with the Miami University Art Museum, OCAC and Chamber of Commerce.

“We had the Conquer Cabin Fever several years ago. We thought about that again. We decided to team up and get people out and about. There are a bunch of reasons to come out and have fun. The DORA is on. People can have drinks in the parks,” he said. “We all have the same goal, get people out and about and moving. For the businesses, get patrons in the doors and for people something fun to do.”

Schiller said families are invited to the arts center event with special activities being planned for children.

She said the timing of the various parts of the day’s activities is intended to make sure there is equal access to everything.

“We will have that two-hour overlap. We do not want to compete with the Uptown events. We have a ballroom full of vendors. We hope people will go back and forth,” she said. “We’re a go, regardless of weather.”

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