By: Alyssa Ballard
Ripley is known for its Fourth of July parade. People come from all directions of West Virginia to see it. But something that not everyone knows about is our Chocolate Festival that’s been going on for eight years.
The event’s festivities include a parade which features Ripley High’s marching band, pageant queens, church groups, and political campaigners. Mayor of Ripley, Carolyn Rader, wasn’t exactly campaigning, but more or less having fun and enjoying herself by leading the parade with friends in M&M costumes.
When the parade comes to an end, the crowd swells at McCoy’s conference center. The crowd this year was very large. Church groups such as L.I.K.E were handing out free small chocolate ice cream cones. This helped relieve the crankiness some people were experiencing from the heat and the impatience of waiting outside for the doors to open.
Once inside, the aroma of chocolate was overwhelming. The kitchen offered hot dogs, soda, and chips, all for minimal prices. Other venders who all had a variety of goods to sell. All were selling some sort of chocolate whether it is chocolate bars, fudge or drinks.
Sophomore Samantha Border said, “The chocolate festival is always fun because I get to walk in the parade for previous fair titles I’ve won and after the parade I always go buy some chocolate.”
The RHS concert choir also sang at the festival. The set list included “Chocoholics Round,” which was the choirs favorite, “Chocolate Carol”, “I love Chocolate,” “Chocolate!” And the crowd loved “Chocolate” so much, that they requested an encore in which the choir gave them. Junior Triston Lanham said, “After we finished our last song everyone started cheering us on to do another and it was so much fun.”
The band and choir performances are usually two of the crowd favorites.
Choir director Annie Hancock said, “Every year the choir crams to learn music for the chocolate Festival because it’s in between Martinsburg and other things which makes it hard to find time to learn the music.”
Hancock also said,” Chocolate Carol is my favorite piece because it has classical sounds infused into the song and it’s very indicative to the occasion.”Overall it was a very fun event for all those who attended as it has been in years before