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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate at Civic fundraiser

5/16/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Those who attend a new chocolate-themed fundraiser at the Akron Civic Theatre will get to gain and lose a pound all in one night.

The pounds in question are not going to affect anyone’s weight but are part of a “chocolate swap” activity that is part of “All About Chocolate.”

Val Renner, media/public relations/event manager at the Civic, said the May 20 event will give attendees the chance to sample fine chocolates and chocolate-themed treats. In addition, everyone who attends is asked to bring a 1-pound box of their favorite specialty or gourmet chocolates for the chocolate swap that will take place during the 6 to 8:30 p.m. event.

“They have to be sealed and of the utmost quality,” Renner said.

The idea for the new event came about when Renner and Civic board member Marilyn Maddox wanted to come up with a smaller-scale fundraiser for the Civic and were considering different ideas.

“Years ago, when I was at The University of Akron, there used to be a chocolate event at Quaker Square,” Renner said. “I thought it was such a great event, so it’s been in my head ever since I got back to Akron. I thought it would be such fun to have another chocolate festival.”

Maddox also had the idea of doing a purse swap, which some fundraisers have done, so she and Renner instead decided on the chocolate swap for this event.

“We thought that’s really outside the box, literally,” Renner said of the “Lose a Pound, Gain a Pound” swap.

The event will have some other opportunities for people to perhaps add a few ounces to their number on the scale. All who attend receive five tickets that they can use to sample goodies from several vendors taking part. Additional sample tickets will be available for purchase.

Expected to be on hand are Grabham Chocolates, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, The Chocolate Garden, Baker Boulevard and Just Cookies. In addition to their samples, the vendors will have their creations for sale, Renner said.

Pampered Chef representative Shelley Nieder, of Fairlawn, also will have a booth where she will demonstrate how to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Bombs.

Renner said the event also will feature Linda Lyell, of Peninsula, who writes the food blog A Kitchen Muse. Lyell will demonstrate recipes with chocolate.

The Civic also will have a chocolate fountain set up and chocolate martinis available. Wine and punch also are included.

Renner said the event will take place on the Mezzanine level of the theater. Only 100 tickets will be sold to keep the event intimate, she added.

“It’s such a guilty little pleasure and such a great time to go out with your girlfriends,” she said. “I know it’s going to be so much fun. No one will be over your shoulder looking to see if you took an extra truffle.”

Raffle tickets available at the event will allow those who participate to have a chance at winning prizes such as a cookbook autographed by Buddy “The Cake Boss” Valastro, a Nook e-reader, restaurant gift cards and tickets for upcoming Civic events.

Renner said the fundraiser supports the nonprofit Civic’s operating costs “to help keep the doors open.”

She added the theater usually goes on hiatus during the summer months, but that’s not the case this year, as several events have been scheduled in July and August.

The Civic’s 2013-14 season begins in October, and Renner said details on the coming events will be released in late summer.

Tickets for “All About Chocolate” are $25 and available at the Civic by calling 330-253-2488. On the day of the event, those who are interested in attending are advised to call ahead for ticket availability. For more information, go to www.akroncivic.com.

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