Chocolate Festival Honors Pawling Vets

On Saturday, November 11, the Pawling Rotary Club presented its fourth annual Chocolate Festival. Visitors were able to sample a wide variety of treats, including offerings from businesses throughout the area. Proceeds from the event will go to benefit various local charities and organizations. Held in the Lathrop Center at Lakeside Park, the event also served as a Veteran’s Day celebration, honoring the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces.

The Rotary Chocolate Festival has become a highly anticipated event in recent years. The event provides an opportunity for local businesses to showcase their delicacies, including cupcakes, cheesecake, gourmet coffee, ice cream, and of course, copious amounts of chocolate. The Pawling Rotary club booth featured two chocolate fountains, with volunteers providing skewers of delicious hand dipped pretzels, marshmallows, pineapples, and strawberries. This year, the festival attracted several new merchants from the area. “This is the first time we’ve been a part of this event,” said Megan Denaut of Reverie Cafe in Patterson. “It’s been great to come together with this community and raise funds for the youth programs, as well as honor the veterans.”

The Chocolate Festival included representatives from more than a dozen businesses in the region. The confectionary options were endless, with businesses in attendance including Aunt Nenee’s, Cheesecake Heaven (Poughquag), Dolci Bella Fine Foods, New Confectioner Vegan Ice Cream, Pawling Bread Company, Reverie Cafe, Whipped Cupcakes, and Zoe’s Ice Cream Barn (LaGrangeville). In addition to dessert options, Beth Metzeler Jewelry, Coast to Coast Dog Treats, and Hudson Valley Sheep and Wool Co. (Red Hook) were also included in the day’s celebration. Music was provided by DJ Tony McNerney. The day’s events also received support from numerous community organizations, including Pawling Public Radio, the Pawling Resource Center, American Legion Hasler-Kamp Post #215, and the Pawling Community Foundation.

Funds raised will be distributed among the American Legion Youth Services, The Smith Johnson Scout Cabin, Pawling Resource Center family outreach programs, Pawling Free Library, Pawling Youth Development, PHS Interact Club, Pawling Public Radio’s internship and apprenticeship programs, Camp Herrlich, and the Pawling Fire Department. Proceeds will also provide funds for the 3rd Grade Dictionary Project, the Resource Center’s holiday “adopt a family program,” and help to underwrite two annual college tours for local high school juniors and seniors.

Numerous members from American Legion Hasler-Kamp Post #215 were on hand to take part in the festivities. “Being a veteran is really special to those of us who have worn the uniform,” said Post Commander Anthony Bucci. “It’s a privilege and an honor to have served our country. It’s an extra privilege to be able to partner up with a community organization like the Rotary Club and be a part of an event like the Chocolate Festival. We not only serve our nation, but we get to serve our community.”

American Legion member Carl Dill, an “official chocolate taste tester” for the event, said, “There’s nothing more important than recognizing the veterans. We’re all delighted to be a part of days like today.”