By Chrisbert Garcia: Every year over the Commonwealth Holiday weekend, Toledo District in Southern Belize celebrates its superior cacao with a world renowned Chocolate Festival, which draws guests from across the country and globe.
Typically falling in late May, the festival has become an annually anticipated event, opening this year with its signature Wine and Chocolate night on Friday, May 20, at ‘The Lodge at Big Falls’ which is located approximately 18 miles inland from Punta Gorda (PG) Town.
This year’s experience will feature the latest creations from Belizean chocolate makers such as Xoco, Che’il, MOHO, Cotton Tree Chocolate and Ix Cacao, as well as an array of fine wines and Belikin’s special Chocolate Stout, starting at 7:00 p.m.
All that topped off with live cultural music from the Garifuna Collective, this opening night event is guaranteed to be a unique experience and with tickets being available for only $60, it’s a treat you can’t afford not to give yourself.
The fest transitions into a daytime event on Saturday with the Taste of Toledo Street Fair, which is sponsored by BoneVille Café and Sea Front Inn, featuring cultural displays of Toledo’s five main ethnic groups (Kriol, Maya, Garifuna, Mestizo and East Indian) stretched down PG’s Front Street.
Starting from Uno Gas Station all the way down to the library, this pedestrian only fair will keep guests entertained with live music by local cultural groups and offer countless food choices, crafts and activities such as chocolate tasting, kayaking and cacao farm tours.
Of course, all booths at the fair will have a connection to the chocolate theme and activities will also be available for kids, including face painting, finger painting, jewelry making and puppeteers to ensure that they get in on the fun experience too.
On Sunday, the festival’s Grand Finale will be held at Julian Cho High School’s compound, about 20 minutes outside of PG.
It begins at mid-day and ends at 7:00 p.m., boasting all day cultural music with musical guest, Sweet Pain Band, an assortment of Mayan dishes, craft making sessions and ends with fireworks.
Tickets are available for the Grand Finale at $5 and tickets for the Wine and Chocolate night can be picked up at BTIA Toledo, Garbutt’s Marine, Coral House Inn, Walucos, Seafront Inn and BoneVille.
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