Oompa Loompas greeted visitors at Willy Wonka's Chocolate Lovers Fling in 2014. This year's Chocolate Lovers Festival will benefit Moab Charter School. [Photo courtesy of the BEACON Afterschool Program]

One year, Moab resident Kari Han and her kids created a miniature solar system out of chocolate. It was 6 feet long and each planet was 5 or 6 inches thick and filled with chocolate mousse – the piece was large enough to offer plenty of tastes to ticket-holders of that year’s Chocolate Lovers Festival.

The festival, which is held most years, is always a fundraiser for one of Moab’s many worthy causes – in past years, the Youth Garden Project, the Moab City Teen Center, and the BEACON Afterschool Program have benefited from the chocolatiers’ creations. Community members donate their time and ingredients to make elaborate and artistic chocolate treats that attendees get to try.

This year’s Chocolate Lovers Festival will be held on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North. Moab Charter School will be the beneficiary.

Han, who runs the charter school’s afterschool program, is creating a chocolate dragon this year, in honor of the school’s mascot. Han’s edible chocolate artworks are so delicious that she’s won prizes at past festivals for her treats.

Approximately 20 chocolatiers are expected to submit their delicacies in this year’s event, where attendees purchase tickets and receive punch cards that allow eight tastes from various chocolate concoctions. Moab Charter School fifth- and sixth-graders will also be selling popcorn and beverages at the event.

Chocolatiers compete for various prizes for best presentation, most creative use of ingredients, people’s choice, best business entry, best individual entry, best youth entry, best use of the theme (this year’s theme is “Fairy Tale”); most artistic; and the Moab Supreme. Winners are awarded one of the silent auction donations.

Local businesses have donated a large array of items, including various gift certificates. Other items include wine, a month of unlimited yoga at Moab Yoga, a stay at Red Cliffs Lodge and a facial at Moab Esthetics.

“It’s a family event,” with children’s games as well, said Han, who expects around 150 people to attend.

Moab resident Xandra Odland said she is planning to make some kind of “fudge-like” treat. She said she attended a chocolate festival fundraiser for BEACON two years ago where someone made “pretty spectacular” truffles.

“It’s really a great winter event to get out and see people and enjoy delicious treats,” Odland said.

Moab Charter School director Emma Weiss said she hopes to raise $3,000 at the event. She wants to purchase sun shade sails so students can be outdoors during the hot weather months and have shade, both on the playground and at the outdoor lunch tables.

“We’re also building up funds to improve technology,” Weiss said. “Currently we have outdated student laptops.”

Moab Charter School is a public school with one class per grade, kindergarten through sixth. The school has grown from 35 students when it was founded in 2004, to 130 students currently. Class size is capped at 20 students; there is a wait list currently for grades four and five.

“We’ll never go over 20 students per grade – we’ll cap it,” Weiss said. “We believe smaller classes lead to better education.”

Tickets to the Chocolate Lovers Festival are available at the charter school, or at the MARC, on the night of the event.

“We just want to thank the community and MARC, who donated the space to us,” Weiss said. “We hope to make it a yearly event.”

Chocolate Lovers Festival to benefit Moab Charter School

“It’s really a great winter event to get out and see people and enjoy delicious treats.”

When: Saturday, Feb. 6, 6-8 p.m.

Where: Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North

Cost: Tickets are $10 per adult and $8 per child

MoabChocolateLovers@gmail.com or 303-885-5822