Guests of the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City were treated to wine, cheeses, coffee, chocolates and, of course, exhibits on aerospace on March 27 as part of The Chocolate Expo.
“We were going to celebrate our 10th anniversary last year, but then COVID-19 came along,” said Marvin Baum, an organizer of the Chocolate Expo, which has been held at the Cradle of Aviation since 2012. “But everyone is anxious to get back out now and we are really excited to get back.”
There was certainly a lot of excitement in the air, as the museum lobby and exhibit spaces were filled with guests enjoying samples offered by vendors coming from across the Tri-State area, while also taking pictures with Disney princesses, Santa Claus and other characters.
“People love chocolate,” Baum said. “But you have to offer something that really engages people… Somebody got engaged at our last event on March 1, 2020, just before the pandemic and we had a very good turnout.”
And engagements could happen in this space, where organizer Barbara Cohen said love happens. She had reached out to the engaged couple to come back again to the event this year as guests, and have their engagement party there.
“There are these moments within the show, and our photographers catch them, where [for example] the mother wipes the chocolate off of the children’s faces or the princess leans down [to greet a child],” Cohen said.
The Cradle of Aviation is known for serving as a great host for a variety of events, including the upcoming Long Island Table Top Gaming Expo on April 9; the comic, collectible and pop-culture convention Cradle Con on May 14 and 15; and the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo on August 12 and 14.
Part of what makes the Cradle of Aviation a great spot to host expos and conventions is not only the people who work at the museum, said Joel Albino of the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo, but also the backdrop of aviation and space exhibits.
“I love running shows there,” Albino said. “I love telling people about it and they show up and say ‘holy moley, this is something else.’ You go to a lot of shows and there are conventions halls and convention centers and they are great for what they are, but they are just a big box… While the Cradle makes it a little more challenging of where to place things, because there’s a lot of twists and turns, you can’t beat the decor and the aesthetic and the backdrop.”
And as a plus, admission to these events often comes with admission to the museum and, at the Chocolate Expo, admission to see a planetarium show.
At the upcoming Table Top Gaming Expo, guests can expect to enjoy card, miniature and board games, as well as role-playing games, panels and vendors. Albino said he and the fellow organizers work to create an event they’d want to go to.
“It’s going to be easy for somebody who maybe has an interest, but does not have a lot of experience, to show up and say ‘maybe I’ll see what this or that game is about,’” Albino said. “You don’t have to be a table top gamer who knows everything to have a good time.”
Visit cradleofaviation.org to learn more about the Cradle of Aviation and the upcoming events.