15 chocolates, 20 bourbons to try at Hamilton’s Bourbon and Chocolate Festival

The Hamilton Rotary Club will move its signature Bourbon and Chocolate Festival to the Butler County Fairgrounds, and silent auction bidding will be done digitally this year. The annual event raises funds to support youth scholarships and programs.

“I’m excited because we have a lot of individuals who are attending, whose names might not always pop up in terms of seeing them at every event that’s happening in Hamilton,” said Kim Neal Davis, chair of the Bourbon and Chocolate Festival committee. “I’m also looking forward to all the of the chocolate vendors, as always, because they bring such an amazing selection every year. We have a couple of new vendors this year, which is also exciting.”

Neal Davis said the also is excited about the bourbons, too. Two Women in a Kitchen will be stocking the bourbon stations, and they will even have specialty cocktails at one of the stations, she said.

The Hamilton Rotary Bourbon and Chocolate Festival presented by LCNB is 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3 at the Butler County Fairgrounds. Ticket options range from $30 to $50.

“You can come with a group of friends, and some choose to make it a date night. We are coming up on Valentine’s Day, so it may be an early Valentine’s celebration for a couple to go to, but as a service organization in Hamilton, every bit of the money we fundraise is invested right back into the community. It’s just a fantastic way to not only enjoy the evening, but to support the community that you live in,” Neal Davis said.

In addition to moving the location of the event to the Butler County Fairgrounds, there will five bourbon stations with various bourbon selections instead of a single bourbon bar. Guests who purchase a bourbon and chocolate combination ticket can get one sampling from each of the bourbon stations. Guests who purchase the bourbon only ticket option with 10 bourbon tastings will get two tastings from each bourbon station.

“The move to the Butler County Fairgrounds was to go back to having everything in one space. Yes, we have continued to grow, so we’re always looking at space, but it’s really nice that we can have everything in one room,” said Neal Davis.

There will be 15 chocolate and dessert vendors and over 20 bourbons to choose from.

There will also be three different ticket types available. One of the ticket options is $30 to experience all 15 of the chocolate tastings. For guests who want to try chocolate and bourbon, there is a $50 ticket, where guests can sample all 15 of the chocolates, plus five bourbon tastings. For bourbon only drinkers, guests can purchase a $40 ticket option for 10 bourbon tastings. (Guests must be 21 and older to purchase a bourbon or a combination ticket.) To purchase tickets, go to https://buff.ly/48Hyvmd.

There will be a program handed out at the event that describes all of the chocolate vendors, the ticket types, and where patrons should go for each tasting.

Guests will walk in and register in the lobby. The raffle and silent auction items will be on view in the lobby. Otherwise, everything else will be held in one main room. There will be seating at the center of the room. Also, there will be to-go pastry-type boxes for those who would like to take some of their chocolates home.

In addition to all the tastings, there will be raffle prize baskets from local businesses, an online silent auction, and music from DJ Christian D. The event typically sells out, and more than 400 guests attended last year.

This year, the silent auction will be held digitally. Guests can go online, view, and bid on the silent auction items. Bidding will open at noon on Saturday and conclude at 9:45 p.m. that day. Participants can register now, and they will receive notifications when the bidding opens, when it is ending, or if they’ve been out-bid.

If individuals are unable to attend, they can still register, bid on a silent auction item, and pick it up at a later date. Bidders don’t have to be present to win. Silent auction tickets will only be available through the online platform. Tickets for the raffle baskets will be available on site at the event.

“This is the sole fundraiser that the Hamilton Rotary Club does on an annual basis. It does go to supporting youth programming and scholarships throughout the community,” Neal Davis said.

She said this is a fun way to engage the community.

“We have a fantastic community of supporters, and we are grateful for your support,” said Neal Davis.

Kimberly Schmidt serves as the current president of Hamilton Rotary Club. Hamilton Rotary Club currently has about 100 active members. Meetings are held each week on Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. in the Fitton Center’s Carruthers Signature Ballroom.

The event is open to everyone.

How to go

What: Hamilton Rotary Bourbon and Chocolate Festival presented by LCNB

When: Sat., Feb. 3, from 6-10 p.m.

Where: Butler County Fairgrounds, 1715 Fairgrove Ave., Hamilton

Cost: Three different ticket packages are available. Bourbon only tickets with 10 tastings are $40; bourbon and chocolate tickets include five bourbon tasting tickets and 15 chocolate samplings for $50 and chocolate only tickets are $30 and include 15 chocolate samplings. Purchase tickets in advance at https://buff.ly/48Hyvmd.

More information: www.hamiltonohiorotary.com. Go to https://buff.ly/48Hyvmd to purchase tickets and to register for and bid on the silent auction.

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