A History of the Chocolate Festival in Rehoboth Beach      

Did you know that the Chocolate Festival was the brainchild of our very own Patty Derrick? It happened like this…      

In 1990, Patty was the 1991 Rehoboth Beach Centennial Chairman appointed by the Mayor and was on the board of the Downtown Business Association (now Main Street Rehoboth). Twelve events were planned for the centennial year, one for each month.  Just before the 1991 Centennial was to begin, Patty, her husband and two friends were leaving for vacation in Hawaii and Tahoe when the Possum Players cancelled their performance of “A History of Rehoboth Beach” due to a death in the family. A replacement event was needed. Patty put the printing of the Centennial brochures on hold until her return. While in Tahoe, Patty’s friend Cindy DelCampo, a self-confessed chocoholic, saw an ad for a Chocolate Festival and dragged Patty along. There were no tickets available but they managed to meet the man in charge and he let them in. Thinking this might be a possible replacement event for the Centennial, they talked to him at length about the logistics of putting on the festival.      

When she returned to Rehoboth Beach, Patty took the Chocolate Festival idea back to the committee and it was approved. Knowing she would need numerous volunteers, Patty, being a VIA member, appealed to the VIA. Of course, the VIA members were there to help. The Chocolate Festival was so successful that it has been held annually with proceeds benefitting the Friends of the Rehoboth Library and Main Street Rehoboth.    

Over the years, the Chocolate Festival has evolved from an amateur baking contest to a restaurant promotion. Beginning in 2017 proceeds from the event will benefit The Harry K Foundation. The one thing that has been consistent each year is the support of the VIA.