Attention fans of delicious chocolate: you need to go to the Washington Coast at the end of February. On February 22-25, the Chocolate on the Beach Festival is once again returning to the North Beach of Grays Harbor and it is the can’t miss event of the season. Stretching for 13 miles, from Copalis to Moclips, this year’s 11th annual festival promises to be an amazing experience. As the only event bridging together the small communities along this section of the Washington Coast, the Chocolate on the Beach Festival has grown into the perfect winter activity in the region. No matter what the weather, smiles, sweets and happiness abound, as it is always raining chocolate during the last week of February along the coast.
“The coolest thing about this festival is that we do grants to help the community,” says Sara Owen and Stephanie Allestad, two of the event organizers. “Local non-profits can apply for a grant, and they must help with event. Then the board gets together and awards grants. Recent recipients have helped Pacific Beach Elementary get new playground equipment.”
Each year the Chocolate on the Beach Festival awards its proceeds to non-profits benefiting the North Beach. The festival started in 2008 as a fundraiser for the Museum of the North Beach and in 2012 became its own entity.
“Since 2012 the Chocolate on the Beach Festival has awarded over $35,000.00 in grants and donations to great organizations around the region,” Sara Owen shares. Organizations like Grays Harbor Volunteer Fire District 8, Grays Harbor Volunteer Search and Rescue and Pacific Beach Elementary Parents Group have received funds. This year’s grant recipients are the Grays Harbor Volunteer Fire District #16, North Beach Community Center and KXPB-LP 89.1fm.”
The event grows in popularity each year, bringing in around 4,000 people to the small coastal towns of North Grays Harbor. From Seattle to Portland, people are buzzing about the Chocolate on the Beach Festival, wearing gear and showing off their love for this Grays Harbor County event. This year’s Chocolate on the Beach Festival promises to be the best yet, thanks to a stellar lineup and the fact that the event expanded from 10 to 13 miles. With a great theme, fantastic chocolate drinks, dishes and snacks, as well as amazing vendors, and even classes to take and demonstrations to watch, you and your family will love spending all weekend on the North Coast.
Each year, the Chocolate on the Beach Festival has a unique theme, with people dressing up and celebrating the event. This year’s event is going to be super, literally, with “Saved by Chocolate” as the theme. There will be superheroes and villains aplenty, thanks to the Portland Superhero Coalition. The group attends fundraisers, events and children hospitals and will be bringing that same level of care, compassion and fun to this event.
Chocolate on the Beach encourages everyone to dress in costume, as there will be a costume contest on Sunday of the event. On Saturday, Mill 109 will host a breakfast with superheroes, giving you a chance to take pictures with your favorite caped crusaders.
This year’s festival kicks off on Thursday February 22 with a Murder Mystery Dinner performed by the talented and fun Stage West Theater at the Ocean Crest Resort in Moclips. From there, the festival continues with vendors from all over the Pacific Northwest sharing their chocolate creations at the Pacific Beach Elementary School gym. This year will also see a range of local artisans, from jewelers to crafters, from around the region.
Of course, there are chocolatiers selling their tasty confections. The chocolate concoctions found at the vendor’s booths will satiate even the sweetest of teeth. Brother Bliss makes vegan chocolate and their vegan truffles are delicious. There will even be safe treats for dogs! Keep in mind that during this incredibly popular event, vendors may sell out quickly. Last year, one vendor had sold completely out of their chocolates by Saturday afternoon!
Chocolate on the Beach is more than just chocolate vendors. Up and down the coast, local businesses, chefs, bartenders and even coffee makers get into the spirit. The Battle of the Bean lets people try numerous coffees and vote on them, while the Cocktail Throw-Down lets you do the same with alcoholic, chocolate drinks. The Green Lantern, Mill 109 and the Ocean Crest will also have cocktail flights available, letting you sample them all in manageable servings.
Interested in learning to make your own chocolate wonders at home? The Chocolate on the Beach festival has demonstrations all weekend at the North Beach Community Center, located at Fire District #8. With classes from some of Washington State’s favorite chefs, including those from North Beach, and talented chocolatiers who are visiting the region, you’ll learn recipes, history and techniques to cook like a pro. Plus, you will get to try a few samples.
For more information visit The Chocolate on the Beach Festival website or become a fan on Facebook. For lodging inquires for this popular event, contact Seabrook and The Ocean Crest, as they also have events on or near their premises and incredible lodging options for couples, families or groups of friends. Stay here, spend the weekend and enjoy the mouthwatering variations of chocolate bliss on the North Beach of Grays Harbor.