On Saturday, Feb. 9, downtown Jonesborough was filled with people embracing the cold for the sake of chocolate. The town’s fourth annual Chocolate Fest was a huge hit with visitors from across the area.

“The event has increased in size 30 percent from last year,” said Dona Lewis, secretary for the Jonesborough Area Merchants and Services Association. “It is a great event. The merchants work very hard to get it going. They have to prepare a lot of chocolate.”

The streets and sidewalks were absolutely packed with visitors overflowing from storefronts on every corner. The festival consisted of a total of 38 chocolate samples from local businesses engaged in a friendly competition.

To try a sample, a guest must purchase tickets in various sized packs for the event. Each ticket may then be exchanged for one sample treat, and after walking through town and tasting all the sweets available, attendees were encouraged to vote on their favorite chocolate sample.

On top of all the sugary delights, many other events took place to offer the best experience to their guests. Hot air balloon rides were available in the Jonesborough Library parking lot to attendees who purchased an additional ticket, while the actual library hosted a romance novel and cookbook sale in preparation for Valentine’s Day.

Also available for a small fee was a guided Historic Downtown Jonesborough walking tour. Guests were also encouraged to take a moment to stop in to the Chuckey Depot Museum and take a look at their newest exhibit, “Working the Railroad.”

For anyone that missed out this year, this annual event will roll back around next Valentine’s Day.

“It was such a great time!” said Jonesborough visitor Sheryl Jennings. “I hadn’t been in previous years, but we are vacationing nearby and decided to come see what the fuss was about. I was so impressed. Definitely happy we came.”