A rational person would use the two days after Thanksgiving to take it easy and eat light, leftover-based meals. Here’s an alternative: gorge on dessert.
Over the past few years, Southwest Colorado’s chocolate festivals have been vanishing. Durango’s impressive Chocolate Fantasia, a fundraiser for Volunteers of America, came to an end after 29 years in 2015. (Surprisingly – for a town with two chocolate factories – nothing has replaced it.) And last year’s Ouray Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival was also the town’s last.
Luckily, Creede still has one – the 30th annual Creede Chocolate Festival will occur on Nov. 29th and 30th. It’s not the only chocolate-based event in the region, but it’s close by.
During the festival, 15 to 20 businesses in the town’s Main Street corridor create homemade chocolatey treats, says Kathleen Murphy, executive director of Creede’s chamber of commerce. The items must contain chocolate, carob, cocoa, or white chocolate and cannot use pre-made chocolates, such as Hershey’s Kisses.
Sometimes the people of Creede get weird with their chocolates. In addition to tiramisu, tortes, and chocolate covered pretzels, items such as chocolate-dipped bacon and jalapeño bean fudge are not unheard of. Regardless of how unusual they are, the creations are judged for best presentation and best overall prizes.
Participants pick up tickets, a map, and a coupon book for local businesses at the visitor center. There’s also a “scoop chase,” in which you track down answers to questions in Creede’s various businesses. When you turn in the correct answers with your chocolate-voting ballot, you’re entered into a drawing in which you could win prizes such as lift tickets to Wolf Creek Ski Area, if that’s your thing.
The town’s goal with the festival is to lure people to buy gifts from local stores, especially during a time when people might be pickier with their money.
“As we get closer to elections, people tend to clamp down on their extra spending, regardless of their political affiliation,” Murphy said. “I’m hoping to create an atmosphere that will put people in the mood to buy things and not think about all that crazy stuff that’s going on in Washington, D.C.”
If you have to shop for gifts on Black Friday, there are worse situations to be in than surrounded by chocolate.
Tickets for and more information on the Creede Chocolate Festival can be found at www.creede.com/chocolate-festival.html.