Chocolate lovers will want to visit St. Mary's festival

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AIKEN --- For those who love chocolate, the annual St. Mary's Chocolate Festival is a little bit of heaven on Earth.

"It's a family festival. There's truly something for everybody," said Michelle Bullington, one of Saturday's organizers.

This year's festival will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic School, and there is no admission charge. The tempting morsels and tickets for the games are available for a fee.

What started 20 years ago with a bake sale and a few games for the children of the school has become an Aiken tradition that attracts about 4,000 people each year, making it the school's largest fundraising event.

"We welcome the whole Aiken community and the CSRA," Ms. Bullington said.

The festival features a variety of chocolate treats -- from homemade brownies to cakes to fountains of chocolate. It also boasts horse-drawn carriage rides, a silent auction, a mechanical bull, an international food booth, remote-control car races, music, inflatable games, a used bookstore and an opportunity for charities and other organizations to promote their causes.

"The focus is all about family fun," Ms. Bullington said.

Though the event raises money for St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic School, other nonprofits participate, including Shepeard Community Blood Center, the Aiken Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Alzheimer's Association and Foster Parents Association.

Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or michelle.guffey@augustachronicle.com.


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