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9th Annual Chocolate Festival of Belize: Punta Gorda, 22-24 May 2015

b2ap3_thumbnail_150501-bz-1.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_150501-bz-1.jpgThe ninth annual Chocolate Festival of Belize and Toledo will take place on 22nd, 23rd and 24th May 2015. The event kicks off with the Gala event, Wine and Chocolate on the Friday night from 6pm to 11pm. The event is being held for the second year at Garbutt's gorgeous marina on Joe Taylor Creek. Surrounded by both the lagoon and the ocean this night brings you nothing but good times, good friends, live music from the Caribbean Roots Band all the way from Corozal, an array of delectable hors d'oeuvres including deep fried lion fish and shrimp and, of course, how could we forget, Chocolate from Belizean chocolatiers!

b2ap3_thumbnail_150501-bz-2.jpgThe Taste of Toledo Street Fair is held on Front Street in Punta Gorda town, from the Uno gas station all the way down to the Punta Gorda library. The pedestrian-only street fair features cultural displays and areas showcasing Toledo's five main ethnic group: Kriol, Maya, Garifuna, Mestizo and East Indian. Each area displays art, food and music from their culture. It is like passing from a Maya town to a Garifuna town in just a few steps. Barbecued food, chocolate making, kayak trips, chocolate farm trips, there's something for everyone. Live local music will play in the fair, on stage as well in the streets. Taste exciting new chocolate flavours, watch local dance groups, buy local food, crafts, and relax with a cold beer while enjoying live music on stage outside the court building. Cacao for Kids will be at the Punta Gorda Methodist School grounds, where there will be tons of fun for the kids.

The Festival Finale on Sunday will take place for the first time on the shaded campus of Julian Cho Technical High School. There will be live performances throughout the day under the school's covered auditorium. This will feature musical performances from Mayan harp groups to Garifuna drumming as well as dances by the Baktun 13 group from Maya Centre in Stann Creek. There will be a range of drinks made from cacao combined with corn or pepper and other ingredients and food stalls will offer ethnic Mayan dishes. Local crafts from hammocks and tie-tie baskets to slate and calabash carvings will be on sale and visitors will have the chance to try their own hand at craft making and appreciate the skill that goes into their creation. The new location provides plenty of on-site car parking and is right on the southern highway making it convenient for visitors travelling up north at the end of the day.

Rob Hirons, The Lodge at Big Falls

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