ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Make a sweet getaway to Silver City for its annual event that celebrates all things chocolate.
Chocolate Fantasia has more than 25 local businesses participating in the event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8. There will be plenty of chocolate concoctions to choose from and eventgoers can pick 20 of their favorites from participating restaurants, art galleries, gift shops and other retailers as well as the Murray Hotel. Tickets and a map of participating locations can be picked up at the Family Karate Center, which will serve as the event headquarters.
In addition to all the chocolate there will be live music outside different spots. There also will be a book signing by New York author and illustrator Elizabeth Zunon of her book “Grandpa Cacao” at 11:30 a.m. at the Family Karate Center.
This year’s Chocolate Fantasia theme is Cupid Carnaval.
“I know one of the sites has a Rio-themed chocolate planned,” said Diana Cameron, Chocolate Fantasia Coordinator for Mimbres Art Council. “With the Cupid Carnaval theme we also wanted to make it a little more sustainable for the local businesses. Many of them go all out with the decorations and we wanted to make it where they can leave it up for more than one day in February and leave it into March.
“Another site actually has a couple little kids that they’re dressing as cupids with little blond curls so they’re going more literal. I know another site has chocolates that are moko jumbie (stilts walker)-themed which is more of a Caribbean take on the Carnaval and we’re expecting a lot of reds and pinks for Valentine’s for sure.”
All of the chocolates are handcrafted and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, flavors and styles. Guests can vote on their favorites and awards will given out to the winners. An award ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. at Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery.
“Once you’re done using your ticket to collect chocolates, on the back of your card you can actually vote for your favorite chocolates,” Cameron said. “You can also vote for your favorite decorations. A lot of businesses go all out with costumes and themed decorations depending on each year’s theme.”
Many of the chocolates are being made by local youth groups including the culinary arts students at Silver City High School and Aldo Leopold Charter School, Guadalupe Montessori, Cavalry Christian Academy, Silver City All-Stars cheerleading group and others.
Chocolate Fantasia is a major fundraiser for the Mimbres Region Art Council. Proceeds are used to fund several youth outreach programs run by the council throughout the year.
“One of most visible in Silver City is the youth mural program and we have applicants for different buildings and different aspirations,” Cameron said. “We have a coordinator that has the mural placed on different walls throughout downtown Silver City and the kids in the area are invited to paint and learn about the process of projection. It’s a really popular program in Silver City. … We have Arte Para Todos. We have Imagine That gallery that’s mobile and the arts council also does a variety of art and cultural programs.”
Arte Para Todos, which translates to art for everyone is for school-aged children and offers different art classes.
“They do different drawing classes or watercolor classes or pastels and they explore different art mediums within the school age population,” Cameron said.