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Once you find out what The Chocolate Fling actually is, you might still want to go

Are you looking for something rich, dark, and smooth? No, really.

April 11th will see the sun rise on many things but perhaps none so surprisingly appealing as the Chocolate Fling, which sounds dirty in the best way possible. This shindig de momento is brought to you via the efforts of The Epilepsy Foundation of Southeast Tennessee, whose motto ("Not Another Moment Lost to Seizures") belies a lack of understanding of the inexorable natures of either epilepsy or time. But, hey, their hearts are in the right place, and we must think of the children, don't you know, and...hey! Chocolate!

The best (and aspiring) chocolatiers in Chattanooga will compete for top awards in the field of...tiering chocolate? Almost twenty tables of local joy vendors will proffer their wares for Mob Rule and Snob Rule (People's Choice and Judges' Choice). There will also be a Best Presentation, so expect them to mold some wacky geometries in the shape of things to nom. Now, you may be thinking this event reeks of romance novels and Lifetime Television, but dismiss your prejudices and actually think about it for a moment. How delicious is the last place offering going to be? And it only gets deliciouser from there. Even when chocolate is bad it's still going to be pretty darn good. (Yes, the opportunity to turn this entire article into thinly veiled metaphor was recognized and discarded. You're welcome, good taste.)

Gigi's Cupcakes, 212 Market, The Melting Pot, and more are confirmed to leap into this year's fray. Expect a strong showing from The Market Street Tavern, the winner per judges for the previous two Flings. Expect an unexpected showing from...P.F. Chang's?

The other countenance to this veritable Janus of fun will be a silent auction. Every local business that couldn't bring itself to hang the phone up has assuaged its guilt by throwing donations onto a giant pile of disorganized swag for you to bid on. The biggest draws are probably going to be a kayak from Rock Creek and a pair of bicycles from Trek. The kayak comes sans paddle or spray skirt, so it's basically a giant patio chair, and the bikes are in that style you see old people riding on television ads where some professional-sounding voice talks about incontinence. Aside from local art pieces of various subjectively applied values, the pickings are broad but shallow: chain-restaurant gift certificates, some live plants, a golf lesson. Nothing really over $50. This makes it accessible, but also kind of boring - expect no furious bidding wars over a life-size replica of Mr. T.'s mohawk.

This leads to discussion of a pet quarrel. Auctions. Why? It seems that every charity organization worth its weight in underprivileged children thinks that it would be "just so much fun" to hold an auction. "We'll feel just like rich people!" think the rich people organizing the event. But auctions exist solely to purvey things of no value that need to be put somewhere, or things with values that are difficult to ascertain because they are subjective or unique, or things of such high value that they command an additional premium just for the privilege of owning it. Since the point of a charity auction becomes money and not getting rid of stuff, the logistics often keen to the inane.

Case study: a $100 O'Charley's gift certificate. Now, who knows what has passed between you and your colon that you would want to do such horrible things to it, but, that being your business, it seems you would not want to bid more than $99 on that item. At least you'd be making a dollar. Once you start to get above that you're going to feel pretty stupid. Why wouldn't you just give the $100 to the foundation and not commit to spending the other $20 or whatever on O'Charley's? Then you've actually saved money. And dignity. And possibly the trouble of angioplasty. And toilet repair.

If you just really want to stick it to epilepsy, you may feel contented to confine your participation to stuffing the insides of your thighs with chocolate.

Enjoy. Oh, and:

Ticket Prices
$25 before the event
$30 at the door
$10 for children age 3 - 12.
Children 0 - 2 are free.

Call 634-1772 to order.

The Chocolate Fling, April 11, 2010 at 2:00p.m. at The Mill of Chattanooga, 1601 Gulf Street. Take Market Street south towards the Choo Choo, take a left onto E. Main St. About a mile on your right you will see Gulf Street. The event hall is on your right.

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