Chocolate Festival culminates in crowning of Cupid Couple

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Windham - posted Mon., Feb. 14, 2011
Windham Mayor Ernie Eldridge (Cupid 2007) is interviewed by the very first Willimantic Cupid (1982), WILI's Wayne Norman. Looking on is Jean de Smet (Cupid 2003). Photos by Melanie Savage.
Windham Mayor Ernie Eldridge (Cupid 2007) is interviewed by the very first Willimantic Cupid (1982), WILI's Wayne Norman. Looking on is Jean de Smet (Cupid 2003). Photos by Melanie Savage.

In a fitting tribute to Valentine’s Day, a married couple was named Willimantic's Cupid Couple on Feb. 14 at City Hall.

The Cupid-crowning ceremony - which recognized Faith and Steve Kenton - wrapped up a weekend of events encompassing Romantic Willimantic’s seventh annual Chocolate Festival.

The afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 12, downtown Willimantic was all decked out for the Chocolate Chip Stroll. Businesses offered a variety of chocolate goodies and free entertainment at more than 30 locations near Main Street. Later, volunteers were busy readying the lobby of the Capitol Theater for the Chocolate Lovers’ Soiree and Cabaret. A gourmet chocolate reception offered imported chocolate, truffles, fudge, hand-dipped fruit, cakes and cookies before and after a Cabaret show. Scheduled to appear at the show were a number of groups, including the Windham High School Choir and the Windham Performing Arts Alumni.

Sunday, Feb. 13, brought the King of Hearts Ice Cream and Cake Social to the Windham Town Hall Auditorium. Hosted by Mayor (and Willimantic Cupid 2007) Ernie Eldridge, the event featured karaoke, face-painting, ice cream sundaes, games and other attractions for the entire family.

On Valentine’s Day morning, the meeting room at Town Hall was packed with Cupids past and present, members of the media, and Willimantic residents, as everyone awaited the announcement of Cupid 2011. In 1981, Al Saba was proclaimed Mr. Romantic Willimantic. WILI’s Wayne Norman was named the first Romantic Willimantic Cupid in 1982. Since then, it has become a tradition to honor a resident for their contributions to the community on Valentine’s Day.

“I know it was a very hard decision this year,” said Eldridge, “because I was there during the deliberations.” Eldridge said that this year, in a departure from the norm, the community had chosen “two people who are joined at the hip.”

Faith is best-known for her contributions through the Windham Garden Club, including the garden on the footbridge and other plots around town. Steve, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Eastern Connecticut State University, is involved along with his wife in organizing the annual Snow Ball. Both also volunteer their time to the Windham Textile and History Museum, among other organizations.

“I can’t think of two people who are more deserving than the Kentons,” said Eldridge.


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