St. Mary’s Chocolate Festival mixes food and fun to benefit school
Saturday marked the 30th Chocolate Festival in downtown Aiken to raise funds for St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic School. Games, music, food from all over the world and of course, chocolate bring residents the event to help support the school.
One group it draws year after year is Sue Phillips and her granddaughter Sarah Elizabeth. This year, they were joined by Sarah Elizabeth’s friend Marli Cook for her first ever chocolate festival.
Sue said they come every year because they love it, saying it is one of the best festivals in Aiken.
“They love the games, they’ve done a lot of that; they love this new hair thing, that’s a winner; and the food and the chocolate,” Sue said.
“Yeah because it was really yummy,” Cook added.
Christy Hines, organizer of the festival and parent to two students at St. Mary’s, said it has historically been the school’s largest fundraiser, with proceeds going to operating costs for the school.
She said the event is family-friendly, and benefits the community at large.
The festival is community based, Hines said, not just for the school.
“We feel very supported by the community,” she said.
Both Sarah Elizabeth and Marli are in third grade, and neither go to St. Mary’s, but Sarah Elizabeth said it’s important to support to school so it will be around “as long as possible.”
“You can actually create tradition by going there,” Marli said.
Sue Phillips agreed, saying you don’t have to have a connection to the school to support it. She comes every year.
“We wouldn’t miss it,” she said.