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Saturday, April 13, 2024

The annual Davis Odd Fellows Chocolate Festival is back

Returning for the first time since the pandemic, the chocolate festival will feature several local vendors 

 

By HANNAH SCHRADER city@theaggie.org

 

On Feb. 4, after a hiatus following the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Davis Odd Fellows will hold their annual chocolate festival at the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge, featuring dessert vendors from all over northern California. 

Kurt Roggli, retiree and former 2022 Grand of the Davis Odd Fellows organization, still performs music with the Davis Odd Fellows. Kurt Roggli is a co-founder of the festival. He spoke about the origins of the Davis Chocolate Festival. 

“It started — geez, I don’t know, five, six, seven years ago when another odd fellow, Dave Rosenberg, and I were sitting around musing and he said ‘Let’s have a chocolate festival,’” Kurt Roggli said. “So, he and I got together and sort of organized the first one. […] We were very ambitious and we had speakers and so on, but we’ve learned over the years to pare it down a little bit because we were really trying to do too much but we still got a whole lot going on.”

Juelie Roggli, Kurt’s wife and current secretary of the Odd Fellows, shared that the festival hosts fundraisers to give back to the community.

“We have various fundraisers throughout the year and the money goes to various things,” she said. “And anytime somebody thinks of something, some fun, new innovative way to raise money, we try and get a committee together and do it […] This one was a no-brainer; chocolate is something everyone wants to get involved with.”

Juelie Roggli shared the layout of the event and some information about the vendors that will be attending. There will be about 12 total vendors from across northern California coming to attend the chocolate festival. 

“We’ve got a couple coming from the Bay Area, we’ve got a couple coming from the foothills, Davis, Sacramento, Elk Grove, […] [and] we got the Davis Creamery,” Juelie Roggli said. “Well, not only do they sell their products, but they will have [free] samples of everything.”

Davis Odd Fellow member and host of the cookie bake-off Diane Steele provided more details on the prizes for the competition.

“I’m a quilter and I sew, so the first-place prize is a handmade apron that’s made of cookie fabric that I’ve made,” Steele said. “And then the second and third place [winners] get little medals that say ‘chocolate fest’ and bragging rights. Yeah, you get your name in the paper and it’s just, you know, it’s fun.”

The festival is finally back after its hiatus due to the pandemic, and Steele hopes the event will go on for years. Steele shared the history of the event and how it was impacted by the shutdown.

“We had it for four years from 2016 to 2019, then the pandemic hit, and we didn’t have it, and we’ve resurrected it,” Steele said. “So this is the first year [back] and I can see us doing it [from now on] because the chocolate fest, it’s just a really fun thing for the lodge. The money raised goes to summer camp funds for local kids who apply for it.”

Steele said they charge 10 dollars to the public for tickets and they are limited to 400 attendees. Vendors keep all of their profits from the event. The ticket proceeds will be used to help kids in Yolo County, according to Steele. 

“I like being part of the committee that puts it on,” Steele said. “We need [a committee] all the time and there’s a lot of different people that are doing a lot of different things within the chocolate fest. We get vendors who come and we give them a free booth. We do not charge for the booth. And all they have to do is have samples just to hand out.’

Upper Crust Baking is a family-owned bakery on G Street managed by Loren Kalisky, son of the bakery’s founders. The bakery is one of the many vendors being featured at the festival, but Kalisky shared what he’s looking forward to most. 

“The chocolate festival is one of my favorite events of the year,” Kalisky said. “I would say I’m personally a ‘chocoholic’ so I have a particular affection for the chocolate festival. It’s always nice to go in and see the other vendors and what kind of tasty treats everybody’s got. Of course, it’s [also] a great way to get our name and our products out there and have some nice interaction with the community. So we always look forward to serving the community and the opportunities to get out into the city.”

 

Written by: Hannah Schrader  city@theaggie.org

 

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