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Gateway Harbor festival features both wine and chocolate

NORTH TONAWANDA – Wine and chocolate, each decadent on their own, are positively sinful featured together in the family-orientated Wine and Chocolate Festival. This sixth annual event, presented by Tonawanda’s Gateway Harbor organization, will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday in Gateway Harbor Park, on Sweeney Street, between Main and Webster streets.

Although the beverage of choice – wine and some specialty cocktails – are adult-orientated, there will still be lots of kid-themed events as well, including chocolate-themed crafts and games, a “candy man” game show and a chocolate ice cream eating contest.

“Over a thousand people showed up last year and it keeps getting larger all the time,” said Patricia Brosius, North Tonawanda’s director of parks and recreation. “There’s something for everybody and if you don’t like chocolate, there’s something wrong with you.”

Front and center will be the city’s longtime Oliver Street chocolate factory, Platter’s Chocolates, as well as featured wineries Schulze, Midnight Run and Willow Creek.

But other local vendors and organizations also will be participating, including: Sassi Cakes cupcakes, Nut Hut, D’Avolio Oils and Vinegars, Burning Asphalt, Kona Ice, Budwey’s, Blissfully Sweet Bake Shop, Kettle Korn Shop, Knights of Columbus, the City of Tonawanda Recreation Department and Avon.

The Niagara County Community College culinary school will offer cooking with chocolate demonstrations.

A farmers market will include Senek Farms and Parkers Patch, where you can stock up on healthy stuff after you chow down on all the less healthy fare.

There also will be wine-themed art with Dave McKenna of Lockport, who will demonstrate how to make birdhouses with wine corks and Sherwood Florist of North Tonawanda, which will have painted wine glasses.

The day will begin early, before the festival, with a special breakfast from 7 a.m. to noon at Lou’s Restaurant, 73 Webster St., which will be serving chocolate cream stuffed french toast and black forest waffles.

For those adults who prefer a later start, Webster’s Bistro, at 102 Webster St., will have a chocolate-themed happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. with chocolate wine and chocolate martinis, as well as other sweet treats. Crazy Jakes, Dwyers and Dockside restaurants also are expected to have themed offerings.

Chocolate cannoli and crepes, sponge candy and chocolate iced coffee will be available for sale from a new business, Uncorked Café, which will be in Gateway Park. The Knights of Columbus also will be selling hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Basket raffles will be held by the North Tonawanda Seniors and the TNT Merchants Association.

The recreation departments of both North Tonawanda and the City of Tonawanda are participating, with North Tonawanda sponsoring games and Tonawanda offering kid-themed treats.