The inside of York Technical College's Baxter M. Hood Center was transformed into a world of chocolate that would have made Willy Wonka proud Sunday with Keystone Substance Abuse Services' third annual Decadent Dreams Chocolate Festival.
At least 1,000 people crowded into the center for several hours Sunday afternoon with their 10 golden tickets, which they could use to buy samples of cheesecake, cookies, truffles, cupcakes and more. A separate ticket guaranteed a trip to a tall chocolate fountain.
The smell of warm chocolate hung in the air. Strawberries and marshmallows littered tables, ready to be dipped into the fountain. Tables were laden with sweet treats and handmade goods. Nearby, professionals gave massages with chocolate cake-scented oil, and chefs gave demonstrations on a stage.
As they satisfied their sweet-tooth cravings, people were also helping a good cause. All proceeds went to Keystone, a nonprofit that that offers treatment and prevention services for substance abuse in York County.
Never miss a local story.
In the past two years, Monica Hanna, head of marketing and events for Keystyone, said the festival has attracted about 800 people and raised about $10,000, but this year promised to be bigger.
The festival attracted three times as many vendors and saw at least 1,000 people of all ages, she said. Vendors included Periwinkle Café and Bakery, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Jazzy Cheesecake Company.
The chocolate festival is two-fold, said Monica Hanna, head of marketing and events for Keystone.
"It's chocolate, but you're helping a good cause," she said.
Like most nonprofits, Keystone has seen negative effects from the economy. Two years ago, the non-profit began to think of potential fundraisers, something that would attract everyone. Hanna said the natural choice was chocolate.
"Who doesn't love chocolate?" asked one of the attendees, Holly Winn. "And it's a great cause."
Winn brought her two children, 7-year-old Savannah and 4-year-old Morgan-Kate.
Savannah Winn was a judge for the festival's cupcake wars that afternoon. Last year, she won the cupcake wars herself with her own homemade chocolate chip cupcake.
She had an idea of what could be the perfect cupcake: something that tastes like a brownie with nuts and perhaps some kind of filling. She added that it felt good to know she was helping a cause.
On the other hand, her younger sister couldn't wait to visit the chocolate fountain and dip her favorite treat, marshmallows, into it.
On stage, children played multiple rounds of "Chubby Bunny." Starting with two marshmallows in their mouths, they had to say "Chubby bunny" clearly to the audience. If the audience could not understand them, they were out. They increased the number of marshmallows until only one person was left.
Friends Ally Temple, Alison Angel and Allaire Gehm came because, simply, it was "all-you-can-eat chocolate."
"I like finding new local places, like bakeries and eateries," said Temple, who bakes treats herself. "I like to try them out."
"I love chocolate," Gehm said.