Foodies can indulge their sweet tooth at the infamous Taste of Chocolate, attend exclusive events, or score big with the Golden Ticket contest!

It's that time of year again, chocolate lovers! Virginia's annual Chocolate Lovers Festival is heading to the city of Fairfax for a weekend full of sugary, sweet delights. Various spots around the city will host special events dedicated to chocolate in all forms, from January 31 to February 2. It's a local tradition that's drawn visitors from all over for more than 20 years!

WHEN: Friday, January 31-Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Friday, 6–8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sunday, 12–4 p.m.
WHERE: Fairfax, Virginia | Locations Vary
ADMISSION: Prices vary; many events are free

The festivities start on Friday with Liquid Chocolate, where guests can try chocolate-themed beverages like milkshakes, coffee, and soda from artisanal businesses. Spoil yourself with a special Dessert Wine Pairing by The Wine House or MurLarkey Distilled Spirits' Chocolate Covered Strawberry Liquor!

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Of course, it's fun to observe (and taste!) other people's confections, but what if you want to participate? The Chocolate Challenge lets bakers of all stripes put their skills to the test with their own inventive, delicious creations that will be reviewed by a panel of judges. If you're interested, you can apply here. The deadline is January 15, so don't hesitate!

It wouldn't be a chocolate festival without homemade baked goods, which is why the Taste of Chocolate at Old Town Hall is a true chocolate lover's dream and festival favorite. Sample an array of delectable desserts, ranging from cookies and cakes to homespun ice cream. It's like stepping into Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!

Speaking of Willy Wonka ... one of the event's best contests this year is their Wonka-esque Golden Ticket! Special chocolate bars will be sold at neighboring businesses, and three of them will contain a Golden Ticket. Winners will receive the biggest prize of all—a grand tour of Cameron's Coffee & Chocolate and a lovely Chocolate Lovers gift basket!

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And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Last year's schedule included Kiwanis BBQ and craft vendors, a cakewalk, Chocolate Dipped Tales with KayDee Puppets, and a silent auction featuring exclusive prize packages from local businesses. 2020's festival schedule is pending, but if it's anything like last year, it will include lots and lots of chocolate. And isn't that what matters?

Here are some things to know:

  • Most events are free, but some may have admission fees; these can be found on the event's website.
  • Taste of Chocolate is free to attend, but food will need to be purchased using Pogs, which cost $1 each. You can pay for them at the event with cash or card.
  • The festival is accessible by car, and the city of Fairfax is full of free parking options—you can find them here!

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**All photos courtesy of City of Fairfax Chocolate Lovers Festival's Facebook page

Will you indulge in this year's Chocolate Lovers Festival? Have you gone before? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.