Cause behind Chocolate Festival close to organizer's heart

Festival Coordinator Karolina Lavagninosays the Oregon Chocolate Festival supports the Asante NICU, a cause close to her heart. (KTVL/Genevieve Grippo)

The 14th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival wrapped up on Sunday.

The event's coordinator says thousands of people attended from all over the west coast, including more than 40 vendors.

"We were anticipating between 1,500 to 1,800," said Karolina Lavagnino, Festival Coordinator. "I'm thinking close to 2,500."

Lavagnino says it's more than just the chocolate that makes the event unique. Ten percent of all ticket sales are also being donated to Asante's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The cause holds a special place in Lavagnino's heart, as her infant daughter spent a month in the NICU.

"I promised myself that if I can, through this festival, help and support their efforts-- their amazing efforts-- then we will do it," she said. "And that's why it's happening. "

According to Lavagnino, the festival raised more than $2,000 to donate to the NICU. She is expecting to surpass that number this year.

Lavagnino said this year's festival was incredibly successful, with reports of vendors selling more on Saturday alone, than in entire weekends in past years.

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