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YMCA spreads the good with service to the needy

Now in its 30th year, the YMCA's annual Chocolates Galore & More event promises luscious chocolates by the plateful, exquisite deserts and mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres.

Held Friday at the Lansdowne Resort and Spa, organizers say the culinary offerings will be prepared by acclaimed restaurateurs and caterers, with proceeds from the evening going to the YMCA, a nonprofit organization that aims to bring people together of all ages and from different backgrounds, to bridge the gaps in community needs.

The event is billed as Loudoun County's largest annual fundraiser.

The charity currently serves over 2,000 Loudoun families annually and has recently acquired the YMCA Loudoun County Youth Development Center, a place where the charity says children can grow, learn and thrive.

Laura Fears, executive director of YMCA Loudoun County, leads chocolate fundraising extravaganza. All money raised by the event directly supports the YMCA 'Caring for Community financial assistance scholarship program' that works to keep, ''the YMCA's promise to the community, of never turning anyone away regardless of inability to pay.''

Not only will the dishes be prepared for the attendees indulgence, but they will also be entered into a competition for Best Presentation and Best Taste. The critic's choice will be determined by five celebrity judges, including Chef Bryant Gallaher from the T.V. Show Hell's Kitchen and the Food Network's Cut Throat Kitchen. Joining him will be Chef James Parker, chef and director of The Food Artist Group, as well as champion of the fruit sculpture competitions on Food Network. The people’s choice award will be judged by those in attendance.

Businesses serving up the evening's food delicacies include; Chocolates Chick, DC Prime Steaks, Smokehouse Live, Eddie Merlot's Steakhouse, The Wine Kitchen and Sweetz Bakery.

General admission tickets are $50. Reserved seating is available for $2,500 for a table of 10. A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible. The event runs from 7-11 p.m.

Participants can also enjoy a silent auction, “free-flowing champagne,” music from Ted Garber and dancing.

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