“I love that it brings in so many new people to Jonesborough, that’s my favorite part because there’s always new people from all around the region — not just the Tri-Cities,” said Kati Jenkins, organizer and president of the Jonesborough Area Merchants and Service Association.
The festival has grown in each of the previous four years, and this year figures to be no different, with ticket sales already up 50% over this time last year, according to Jenkins. For the local businesses, however, the Chocolate Fest is a lifeline in one of the slowest months of the year for the town’s local shops.
“It’s a huge deal for the area for this time of year,” Jenkins said. “This is the slowest time of year for everybody downtown, so it’s a really good boost, not only financially, but also a really good morale boost.”
The event also helps Jonesborough keep its “quirkiness,” and helps set Jonesborough apart from other places in the region.
“We love our quirky festivals because Jonesborough is kind of a quirky town,” Jenkins said. “The cool thing about Chocolate Fest and other JAMSA events like Strolling on Main, Scoop Fest, is it shows the originality of each merchant -— it shows individuality.
“It’s a way for the entire town to get creative and it creates a unique experience every festival, every year.”
And while this year’s Chocolate Fest will remain mostly intact from years past, there will also be a few kid-friendly activities throughout the town offered at no extra charge, and some characters will be handing out JAMSA coins, which are essentially $5 gift certificates valid at most downtown shops.
This year’s festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and tickets and more information can be found online at jbochocolatefest.com. Tickets are sold in packages of 10 for $15 each, and supplies will be limited the day of the festival, so it’s advised you grab yours beforehand. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the Jonesborough Visitors Center at (423) 753-1010.
“You really really need to get your tickets ahead of time,” Jenkins said.