LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) — In two months, thousands of people would travel to Greenbrier County for the Chocolate Festival, a beloved staple in the area.
The Chocolate Festival is typically scheduled for April, but this year, it is canceled because of COVID-19 concerns. This is not the first time these concerns led to the festival being canceled. Last year’s festival and fundraiser for the United Way of Greenbrier Valley was also canceled.
“Something that is very helpful to our tourism is not coming again this year, it’s heartbreaking,” Amy Mills said.
Mills is the owner of Amy’s Market. She said the Chocolate Festival is a chance for her to show off skills, as chocolate is a main ingredient in many of her dishes. She added the Chocolate Festival creates a boost in tourism in the county, which in turn provides a boost for the local economy.
Tamera Pence is the President of the Lewisburg Downtown Business Association. She said while business downtown may be affected by this cancellation, she hopes the impact will not be as bad as last year because she thinks the economy is starting to bounce back.
“It will affect us, I’m pretty sure,” Pence said. “It’s a big weekend and a big kickoff, but I’m pretty sure the business is going to come trickling in. If we look at trends and do this safely, I think we’ll all hopefully still be standing at the end of the year.”
While this year’s event may be canceled, a save the date was announced. The Lewisburg Chocolate Festival Committee announced they hope to come back on April 9, 2022.
Deva Wager is the Owner of Wolf Creek Gallery. She said she believes businesses downtown will come back stronger than ever.
“Since it’s inception, it has just grown and grown and it’s amazing to look back on the beginning of the Chocolate Festival and how it was then compared to how it is now. I think that this is just a little bump in the road.”