Chocolate was the only item on the menu

February 12, 2006|By MARLO BARNHART


There was no escaping the clutches of chocolate Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Everywhere one turned, there it was - chocolate candy, homemade desserts, a chocolate fountain and even a chocolate pastor.

It was also in the air - literally - as pie pans filled with chocolate whipped cream were tossed onto Pastor Gerry Johnson, who managed to smile while sporting a protective garbage bag and with whipped cream dripping from his hair.

"It's easy evangelism," Johnson said.

While billed as a fundraiser for a church youth group, the Chocolate Festival also served to draw the community to the church.


"Whenever I saw someone I didn't know, I went over to get acquainted," Johnson said.

The idea for the festival was hatched when one of the youth groups at the church expressed an interest in attending a young people's event in Texas. Johnson and others in the church felt a lighthearted activity would be just the ticket.

"Stuff should be fun and bring people together," Johnson said. "This seemed attractive and fun right from the get-go."

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., people came and went, buying chocolate confections, eating lunch, bidding on silent auction items and marching to a cake walk every half hour.

"Local businesses were just incredible donating auction items," Johnson said.

"Win us a cake, Hallie," Kimberly and Rich Sneckenberger yelled to their 3-year-old daughter as she tried to win a cake in the cake walk. Alas, she was unsuccessful.

Church member Barbara Gardenhour came with four of her grandchildren, Tyler Garner, 13; and Blayne, Madalyn and Jacob Gardenhour, ages 11, 5 and 1, respectively.

"I love chocolate," said Madalyn, who was eating and/or wearing chocolate most of the day. "I also made a bracelet for my mommy."

Hanna Simane, 13, and her mother were in charge of the chocolate fountain, where for $1, one could get pretzels, marshmallows and animal crackers to dip in the confection. Hanna's confirmation class has been making homemade chocolates for the festival for weeks.

If all of that chocolate got to be too much, there were crafts downstairs and even a movie. Of course, it was "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

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