MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) — The Crystal Coast Civic Center hosted their fifteenth annual Carolina Chocolate Festival Saturday.
More than twenty-five chocolate vendors and hundreds of chocolate fans came out this weekend to participate.
To kick off the festival, the Civic Center held a “Cocoa 5K Race.”
The runners came out in the early morning cold to run in support of local charities, including Carteret County Domestic Violence and Carteret County 4H.
Race organizer Charles Teachey said that while it’s great to help local charities, many of the runners were also here for the chocolate.
“They come out, have a good time, run,” said Teachey. “Then they go to the chocolate festival which is always good. That’s what attracts a lot of people. After you finish the run you can just pop over to the Civic Center and have chocolate.”
The 5K had a record high number of participants this year, despite the cold weather.
Inside the festival, people were packed in to try the sweet treats that were up for grabs.
“They are really good,” said Avery Sassner, a young attendee of the festival. “I’m telling you the toffee is the best part of my life. I like it so much, but after I actually eat it I go bouncing off the walls.”
The festival brought chocolate vendors from all over to the Crystal Coast to sell their creations.
Tim Wyatt, the owner of Pecan Jack’s candies, drove twelve hours to the festival from Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.
“This is our seventh year coming to the festival and we wouldn’t miss it for nothing,” said Wyatt.
The celebration included a chocolate pudding eating contest, and people who came out said they were glad they did.
“Words can’t describe it,” said attendee David Sassner, “It’s one of those memory makers that all families should go after.”
But the festival was more than just fun. The proceeds from festival entry also went to local charities.
“Our $9 entry fee is truly considered a donation,” said festival organizer Judy Hailey. “That is our patron’s way of giving back to the community.”
Hailey said that after this year, the festival will reach the mark of more than half a million dollars donated to local charities.