19th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival kicks off

ASHLAND, Ore. – The 19th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival is officially underway in Ashland.

The festival has kicked off with its Friday Art Walk through downtown.

The vendor marketplace will open Saturday at 11, where visitors can sample from dozens of west coast chocolate makers and even participate in a chocolate product competition as well.

The festival is welcoming a special guest this year, Anya Tatarenko, a local refugee from Ukraine.

She will be one of many vendors at this year’s event.

“I made the chocolate candy in Ukraine,” Tatarenko said. “Come to the festival in Ashland and taste my candy!”

Anya started making chocolate eight years ago in Ukraine.

She said she is sending all her profits from the festival to her family back in Ukraine.

If you want to try any chocolate, the vendors market will be open both Saturday and Sunday at the Ashland Hills Hotel from 11-4.

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Ethan McReynolds is a reporter and weekend anchor for NBC5 News. He grew up in Bothell, Washington and graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Broadcasting and minors in Journalism and Sport Management. At Gonzaga, he started his own sports podcast. Ethan loves rooting for his hometown Seattle sports teams, especially the Mariners. He loves playing baseball, basketball, and soccer. He is also an avid Taylor Swift fan.
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