8 Questions with Dayton Chocolate Festival’s Melody MorrisBy Noah Tong
The annual Chocolate Festival, conducted at the Fairgrounds & Event Center of Montgomery County and hosted by Faith and Friends Radio, is back again for its 17th year on Saturday, Oct. 5. Faith and Friends Radio is an internet-based Christian radio station.
This year’s theme is “One Giant Leap for Chocolate,” a tribute to the 50th anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon. We spoke with Melody Morris, a co-director of the event and co-manager of Faith and Friends Radio, to learn more.
What is the history of the Dayton Chocolate Festival?
Well, I began noticing all the festivals in the area. Dayton had everything from sauerkraut to pork to marigold festivals but nothing at all for chocolate. I was affectionately labelled the resident chocoholic. A listener to the radio station suggested we create a chocolate festival, and I thought it was a great idea.
What can guests expect when they attend?
It’s very family friendly. This is a free parking, free admission event. It is also handicap accessible for anyone from any walk of life at any age. Last year was the first year we had food trucks so there could be chocolate sold outside without it melting too quickly. Outside will also be the Christian Motorcycle Association and dog agility demonstrations. Arts and crafts are indoors.
What kind of chocolate products will be there?
It varies. In the past, we’ve had chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate filled doughnuts, cupcakes and moon pies.
Will there be music and entertainment?
Yes. Each year we have one nationally known artist anchor the stage along with 20-minute sets of local artists. This year we have Dave Boyer performing. He’s a big-band singer from the Jersey scene. He’s a Christian artist.
How will this year’s theme impact the event?
In the past we’ve done everything from movie themes, to a southern Pacific theme, to a patriotic theme. Since this year’s theme is “One Giant Leap for Chocolate,” song likes “Moon River” and “Fly Me To The Moon” will be performed. Vendors can choose to decorate to the theme too.
The event is put on by Faith and Friends Radio. What is their role in this event?
We are the organizers. We get our sponsors and sell vendor spots. We basically run and manage the event.
Is there anyone else who ensures the Chocolate Festival runs successfully?
Bill Mance. He is my morning show co-host on the radio station from 6-9 a.m. I also want to give a big shout out to all our sponsors. There’s a nonpaying admission and vendors keep what they make. Without the sponsors this event couldn’t happen. We have probably about 10 sponsors.
What is your favorite part of the Chocolate Festival?
I like seeing the wide variety of people that attend. We have a wide offering of chocolate, food trucks, arts and crafts, and entertainment. I enjoy watching them have a good time.