The Galesburg Antique Mall is usually frequented for its eclectic jewelry and books, but on Feb. 16 and 17, it became the home of Galesburg’s 27th Annual Chocolate Festival.
The event was hosted as a fundraiser the Galesburg Historical Society and took place on the top floor of the Antique Mall on Main Street. Immediately after stepping off the elevator, chocolate appeared to be everywhere.
There was a buffet line of different chocolates, ranging from chocolate pizza to chocolate brisket. In the middle of the room was a sizeable chocolate fountain.
“[My favorite thing here] is the chocolate fountain and the strawberries that I put in the chocolate fountain,” freshman Sophie Click said.
People crowded to dip cheddar cheese, strawberries and other fruits. Once people filled their plates with various chocolates, they were invited to sit down at tables with red and pink tablecloths adorned with roses and heart-shaped confetti. People enjoyed their chocolate while listening to a harpist and mingling with other chocolate-infatuated Galesburg residents.
“If heaven had a waiting room, this would be it, and then actual heaven would have the infinity [sic] amount of chocolate,” freshman Kiara Honeysucker said.
The event was started by Galesburg resident Rita Carlson.
“Rita had read about this in a book and decided she wanted to start it in Galesburg, and she wanted to see how it would go. It was a success, and the next year more people came on board,” volunteer and friend of Carlson Gerry Kelley said.
The event initially took place in the Browning Mansion on Kellogg Street but became so popular that the Antique Mall offered to host it.
“There are people who would never consider coming here who come in and shop, so we’re kind of giving back to them too,” Kelley said.
Chocolate for the event was donated by Galesburg restaurants and shops, including Hy-Vee. Volunteers also prepared and served chocolate.
Also at the event were a pair of boots and a hat made of chocolate. These were made by members of the mentally handicapped and senior citizen homes of Galesburg.
“It’s different for me to be in such an environment in which I’ve been to the Antique Mall many times and now it’s Galesburg and not as many Knox students. And that’s a nice, different concentration,” sophomore Forrest Linsell said as he sat down with a plate of various chocolates.
Everyone at the event appeared to enjoy themselves.
“It’s chocolate. You can’t go wrong with chocolate. You can’t have a least favorite,” senior Rup Sarkar said.
“We’re just happy we can include everyone, and [The Historical Society] is a small group, but they work hard to keep the history of Galesburg going,” Kelley said. “The community is wonderful to furnish all of our refreshments and they’re very creative people. We have fun. It’s not work — it’s fun.”