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Sweet tasting fundraiser set for Friday at FairOaks

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It’s easy to rid yourself of the guilt of indulging in chocolate — especially if you know that Friday’s Taste of Chocolate fundraiser benefits local programs such as Reading Is Fundamental, which offers free books to Bartholomew County children in second and fourth grades.

About 2,000 people are expected to attend the Columbus Service League’s 23rd annual event, featuring a huge spread of treats for the public at FairOaks Mall from 5 to 8 p.m.

Forty vendors expect to have enough chocolate to turn the mall into a makeshift mini Hershey, Pa.

“We host a lot of events,” said Kim Showalter, FairOaks’ general manager. “But this is by far the most popular.”

Last year’s event raised a record of nearly $11,000 for reading and other programs.

“We smell it, and we cut it, and we serve it,” said Service League member Brenda Vogel, one of several event co-leaders. “But we don’t often get to eat it (ourselves), unless a family member decides to be nice and save us some.”

Some treats will be sugar-free, low-calorie or gluten-free. There will be non-chocolate specialties as well.

Vogel said full desserts will be available for those who need something special for their next dinner party.

For people who also have an appetite for entertainment, attendees can enjoy the Columbus North High School jazz ensembles, show choirs and jazz vocal ensemble, Southside Elementary School choir, Northside Middle School choir and Dance by Design.

Vogel laughed when asked if chocolate goes with nearly anything.

“It’s not so good on cotton T-shirts,” she said.

If you go

WHAT: 23rd annual Taste of Chocolate, featuring chocolate and non-chocolate treats from 40 vendors. Foods include cakes, tortes, cookies, cupcakes, yogurts, fountains and pies.

WHEN: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.

WHERE: FairOaks Mall, 2380 25th St.

TICKETS: $3 per dessert, available at the mall, or $2.50 per dessert, available in advance at the mall office, Gramz Bakery, Viewpoint Books, Claudia’s Flora Bunda and All Natural Assets.

INFORMATION: 350-4985 or

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