The inaugural Kansas Chocolate Festival will turn Saturday, September 24 into one sweet day in Downtown Topeka. There are 14 downtown businesses and five area hotels adding to the experience with special activities and discounts

Among the participating downtown businesses, Avenue Hair Salon will offer manicures and pedicures with a chocolate scrub, David’s Jewelers will offer chocolate covered strawberries for customers and 20 percent off chocolate and colored diamonds until 3 p.m. Topeka’s local chocolatier, Hazel Hill Chocolate Traditions, will offer a series of demonstrations throughout the day.

“We are thrilled that the Downtown Topeka business community is rallying behind this new and exciting event,” said Rosa Cavazos, director of tourism development for Visit Topeka. “We know that there are visitors traveling from across the country for the Kansas Chocolate Festival and this and it’s a great opportunity to showcase Topeka.”

Chocolate-based crafts for all ages will be offered at Fabtastics, Leaping Llamas and Prairie Glass. Reliant Apparel will sell shirts and coffee mugs with the Kansas Chocolate Festival logo and offer chocolate samples. Wolfe’s Camera is offering a discount on all chocolate brown merchandise as well as offering chocolate samples. Also offering chocolate samples: Absolute Design by Brenda, Tammi’s Antiques & Florals.

Several restaurants will offer discounts for the day and chocolate-themed menu items, including Celtic Fox (chocolate and white chocolate martini special), Classic Bean (chocolate martinis, espresso chocolate martini, mocha polar ice cap, triple chocolate cookies and cake on special), Cashmere Popcorn, HHB BBQ and Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant (Mexican hot chocolate). Moburts will be open and participating in a main stage demonstration. Many other downtown businesses will be open for regular business hours that day.

Each of the opportunities offered was created and planned by the business. Hazel Hill will offer seven different demonstrations, on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring its signature Fudge Buffalo, decorating caramel apples, taffy pulling, peanut brittle, pecan hills, chocolate clay and fudge. Hazel Hill also will be offering samples throughout the day.

The main chocolate demonstration stage, at 9th and South Kansas Avenues, will feature demonstrations beginning on the half-hour from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. In addition, a music stage near 6th and South Kansas Avenues will feature Blazing Mojo from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Smith & Liston from 2-4 p.m. Several food trucks are participating as well, each featuring a menu item created with chocolate provided by Mars Chocolate North America.

Hotels offering discounts and packages are:

  • Capitol Plaza Hotel – Enjoy a standard room at discount with breakfast for two, chocolate truffles and late checkout.
  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites – Enjoy a chocolate fountain dessert bar in the lobby Friday and Saturday from 7-10 p.m.
  • Ramada Hotel and Convention Center – Enjoy a room discount Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Residence Inn by Marriott – In addition to a room rate discount, enjoy a premium dessert bar from 6-8 p.m. Friday.
  • Sleep Inn and Suites – In addition to a room rate discount, enjoy chocolate items on the breakfast buffet.

When reserving a room simply mention the Kansas Chocolate Festival package. Details can be found online at

“If you love chocolate, or have family members who do, this is a chance of a lifetime,” said Brett Oetting, president and CEO of Visit Topeka. “Unlike every other chocolate festival we’ve researched, admission is free. You can try free samples from chocolatiers from several states and purchase what you love. The creativity of our local businesses to add these chocolate-themed experiences is the icing on the chocolate cake.” 

Upcoming Visit Topeka events include:

Kansas Mariachi Festival, Sept. 16, in Downtown Topeka
Kansas Chocolate Festival, Sept. 24, in Downtown Topeka
Topeka Science & Tech Fest, Oct. 15, in Downtown Topeka
More in December and 2017, details coming soon. Learn more at

As Topeka's official destination marketing organization, Visit Topeka is dedicated to marketing the region as an exceptional destination for meetings, events, sports and leisure tourism, thereby enhancing the local economy. Visit Topeka is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit organization. Find more information at