RED HOOK, N. Y. -- Plans are underway for a bigger and better Red Hook and The Chocolate Festival on Nov. 5 that will feature street music, food demonstrations, a skateboard competition, theatrical performances and more.
Organized by the Red Hook Chamber of Commerce, this third annual event is a chance to highlight Red Hook's early connection to chocolate-making plus attract visitors to the downtown shopping area.
"We would love the name of Red Hook to be synonymous with chocolate," said Sean Jones, president of the chamber. "As we approach our third Red Hook and The Chocolate Festival celebration, we are well on our way to making this a reality."
The free event runs from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., and kicks off with a chocolate-tasting demonstration at Taste Budd's Chocolate Cafe, 40 W. Market St. Then visitors can go off to visit other stores and displays throughout the area, officials said.
The festival will also highlight the history of chocolate in Red Hook that dates back to 1888 with Baker Chocolate was started by William H. Baker. Though the company was not related to Baker's chocolate, it perhaps stood to benefit from the confusion, officials said.
When refrigeration changed how chocolate was manufactured in 1924, the chocolate factory was eventually sold to Walker Candy Company. It was later used as cold storage for fruit, then for frozen foods, before it was abandoned in the early 1980s.
In 1995, George Verrilli turned it into office and retail space. The chocolate factory currently houses a wide variety of small and unique businesses, and this year the festival will feature performances by one of its newest tenants Arts At The Chocolate Factory.