By Susan Stone
With this year’s annual Chocolate Festival falling on Veteran’s Day, November 11, the Pawling Rotary Club will honor the members of the Pawling American Legion. The American Legion is one of the nation’s most renowned veteran’s associations, chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization, focusing on service to veterans, service members and communities Locally, the American Legion of Pawling supports the community’s youngsters through scholarships, sending participants to Boys and Girls State, supporting Cub Scout Pack 34 (for the last sixty years), maintaining Veterans Memorial Plaza in the heart of the village, and honoring the memory of all veterans with the placement of over 650 American flags on gravesites in local cemeteries. Veterans attending this year’s event will receive special recognition, along with a small gift of thanks from the club.
Along with Rotary’s Spring Fundraiser providing dollars for Pawling Rotary’s Roger Smith Scholarship Fund, The Chocolate Festival, which occurs each fall, raises funds for all the other worthwhile organizations in Pawling that support youngsters and their families. The grants that are funded by this event offer opportunities made available through The Smith Johnson Scout Cabin, The Pawling Resource Center and their family outreach programs, The Pawling Free library, Pawling Youth Development, the Interact Club, Pawling Public Radio’s internship and apprenticeship programs, and the Pawling Fire Department for their unstinting protection of Pawling’s children and families. Additional programs that benefit from Chocolate Festival proceeds include the Rotary Third Grade Dictionary Project, underwriting two annual College Tours for high school juniors and seniors, and the Resource Center’s adopt a family program at holiday time. Moreover, these dollars assist with annual donations to Rotary International’s Charitable Foundation, which supports the worldwide eradication of Polio and to Shelter Box, which provides temporary shelter to families that have been displaced due to natural and man-made global disasters.
This year’s event has seen tremendous community support, as local businesses and individuals have signed on as sponsors. Chief among those is Castagna Realty, who is a top tier sponsor at the event’s Willy Wonka Golden Ticket level. Sponsors at the next tier of support include: Ingersoll Auto, Dutchess Auto Body, The Grand, Fairway Accounting, Emery & Webb, Fountain Plumbing, Stratos Wealth Partners, Patterson Auto Body, Edison Cleaners, Ross & Fayne Daniels, McKinney & Doyle, Good Tidings Gift Shop, and Carl Dill, all participating at the Oh Fudge level. Chocolate Chip Sponsors include: Phoenix Pottery, Horn & Thomes, Native Landscapes, Joe Downey, Vinny’s Deli, Aneu Salon, Mizzentop Day School, Wings Over Water Swim School, Gina Lombard at M&T Bank, Jeremy & Susan Stone, and Margot Jacobs.
Community members attending this year are encouraged to bring their gently used coats, as the Pawling Resource Center will be on hand to collect them at their table and offer up some hot chocolate, coffee, and some delicious Cabot Cheese treats to all who stop by.
Children will also find plenty to eat and activities to enjoy. This year’s Rotary Chocolate Fountain, manned, once again, by Jeff and Reid Ascher and Susan Stone will have additional help from Kelly Liffland who will be bringing her crepe making expertise to this already fan favorite. Also, free samples will be available at all vendor tables while supplies last.
The 4th Annual Rotary Chocolate Festival will be held in the Lathrop Center at Lakeside Park on Saturday, November 11, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.