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McLean's First Chocolate Festival Raised $25,000

Sponsored by McLean Rotary

McLean's very popular first Chocolate Festival sponsored by McLean Rotary Sunday was attended by 3,000 people, 40 vendors and raised $25,000.

That's why the members of the Chocolate Committee headed by Dana Sippel received a standing ovation at Tuesday's Rotary meeting.

"The main problem was too many people being there," Sippel told his fellow Rotarians at their weekly meeting at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.

5 Things to Know about the very successful and gooey Chocolate Festival:

1. After all the bills are paid, $8,000 will be donated to service organizations supported by Rotary.

2. The committee bought 18,000 tickets and needed 25,000 so they were recycling tickets at the end of Sunday afternoon.

3. Jan Auerbach, the incoming Rotary president, conceived of the idea of a Chocolate Festival in the winter. She also sold homemade goods at her booth on Sunday and raised $700 with the help of a friend.

"Sunday was my day to feel part of the Rotary team more than ever. . . that will mean more to me than anything else," she said Tuesday.

4. McLean High school students acted as chaperons and activity guides in the children's room.

5. The Chocolate Committee members are Sippel, Jan Auerbach, McLean Rotary president Cherry Baumbusch, John McEvilly, Rick Neldon, Brian Pence, who owns the Staybridge Hotel in downtown McLean, Steve Richardson, and George Sachs, executive director of the McLean Community Center, Carmen Wu, who headed the Decoration committee.

Pence loaned the linens for the tables and some plastic bags from the Staybridge Hotel, when they ran out of plastic bags donated by the Great McLean Chamber of Commerce, Cherry Baumbusch said.

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