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The Chocolate Expo set to return to Cradle of Aviation in Garden City

Francesca Derasmo, 12, of Massapequa, enjoys some chocolate

Francesca Derasmo, 12, of Massapequa, enjoys some chocolate dipped pineapple at the 2018 Chocolate Expo at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Chocolate lovers, you may have found your earthly paradise.

Chocolate-flavored pumpkin seeds, chocolate-covered bacon, chocolate wine and chocolate-scented personal care products will be just a few of the chocolaty treats available at The Chocolate Expo being held March 3 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.

Billed as “America’s largest and most unique chocolate festival,” this year event celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission with food artist Nancy Baker re-creating a scene from a famous photo of the moon landing using a combination of chocolates, cookies and colored sugars.

“People come to the event because it allows them to explore all types of chocolates — not just bonbons,” says Marvin Baum, owner of Baum Image Group, which sponsors the event. He notes the expo, which is always held at the museum, is being held for the eighth year and thousands are expected to attend.

Proceeds help fund some of the museum’s programs and its mission which involves celebrating the remarkable accomplishments and contributions of Long Island to the history of aviation, Baum said.


“Almost 80 vendors will be participating — mostly from New York State but also from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire,” Baum adds. “We usually get about 8,000 people. The goal is to help promote small business entrepreneurs and wineries with the focus being on New York businesses.”

More than 25 authentically-costumed Star Wars characters from the 501st Empire City Garrison will also descend on The Chocolate Expo and be available for selfies and other picture-taking opportunities from approximately 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Attendees can start their chocolate love fest and fun as soon as they enter the museum’s atrium lobby where they’ll be greeted with a choice of fresh fruits, marshmallows, pretzels and crisp rice treats waiting to be dipped in Aurora Gourmet’s chocolate fountains overflowing with milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate.

As they make their way through the expo, chocolate lovers will find more goodies in the form of baked goods and specialty foods, gelato, cheeses, wines, spirits, hard ciders, craft sodas and more as they tour one of the largest air and space museums in the world.

Free face painting and balloon twisting activities for children will take place in the Museum’s Junior Jet Club.

Another feature of the day will be a food drive held in partnership with the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Long Island Cares. Guests are asked to bring nonperishable food items for donation, and it is not necessary to be a Chocolate Expo attendee to participate in the Food Drive since Long Island Cares donation bins will be located right in the lobby doorways of the Cradle of Aviation Museum for drop-off purposes.

The Chocolate Expo

WHEN|WHERE 10 a.m.-7 p.m. March 3 at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City

ADMISSION $20 adults ($15 ages 2-12) at the door (save $5 per ticket with advance online purchase); discounted after-5 p.m. admission is $15 ($10 advance) for ages 2 and up. Admission includes access to museum's air and space exhibits.



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