Crowd with sweet tooth packs clinic’s fundraiser
HOT SPRINGS — A record crowd of 900 people showed up at the Embassy Suites on Feb. 3 to attend the 15th annual Chocolate Festival, held as a fundraiser for Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic (CCMC). Ken Goodman served as the announcer for the event, which also featured vocal numbers by the Fun City Chorus and juggling and balloon sculptures by Justin Time. Artist Red did a live painting.
Assisted by a small army of volunteers, attendees shopped silent auction items and — along with a panel of judges — nibbled treats by various restaurants, hotels and other establishments vying for best-of awards. Contenders were Abbi Cakes, Angels in the Park, Bistro 400, Bleu Monkey Grill, Brick House Grill, CHI St. Vincent, Dolce Gelato, Embassy Suites, Evilo Oils & Vinegars, Kilwins Hot Springs, Malvern National Bank, the National Park College Hospitality & Tourism Program, Red Light Roastery, The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa, and Vault. VIP guests tasted treats in a separate area.
When the chocolate settled, Malvern National Bank won best presentation for its chocolate mousse with fresh mixed berries in phyllo tart shells, drizzled in gourmet chocolate. Evilo won the People’s Choice award for its Chocolate Tacos — stamped crepes filled with a salted caramel cheesecake filling, dipped in chocolate and accented with sea salt and crushed hard caramel pieces. Angels in the Park won best taste with a Torta Passano Chocolate — a torte enriched with orange, along with dark and white chocolate chips; served with dark chocolate orange sauce and white chocolate Tuaca sauce; and topped with candied orange peel.
Festival proceeds will support the medical, dental, vision and pharmacy services offered by CCMC, as well as case management and the Bridges Out of Poverty Getting Ahead classes offered there.
Heather Hudson, Eric Wegner, Robert and Vikki Tankersley, Justin Winton and Wade Castle
Judge Joe and Erica Graham with their daughter, Camilla
Mary Haner, Jami Steinsiek and Cherrie Sweeney, all of El Dorado, and Lori Ford of Greenbrier
Janet and Dr. Jack Porter with Cindy Wagstaff and Tracy Sublett
Lynn Blankenship, executive director of Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic, with Brad Hudgens, one of the event judges
Josh Adams, who goes by the name Artist Red, works on a painting.
Joel Newburn, Hot Springs Mayor Pat McCabe and Frank Poff
Chocolate-theme morsels await tasting.
Chris Stephens and Betsy Van Dusen, both of Little Rock, with Sue Polk
Valerie Brassell with Cassius Softley and Pier Clay
The Fun City Chorus performs.