The 18th annual Chocolate Ball, a benefit for The Arc of Howard County presented by the Lisa Higgins-Hussman Foundation, in late March attracted a crowd of 450 to Turf Valley, where the candlelit room reflected the theme, “Lights of Possibility.”

Extravagant desserts created by the area’s best chefs and caterers were a highlight. A panel of celebrities judged the Best in Taste and Show and attendees voted for the People’s Choice based on appearance. The Milton Inn and Chef Keith Weimer was the judges’ first place winner; The Center for Hospitality and Culinary Studies at Howard Community College and its Chef David Milburn and students won second place; and La Cakerie and its Cake Designer Elliot Azzam and Cake Decorator Ashley Pratt won third. Howard Community College was the People’s Choice awardee.

The celebrity judges were Brian Boston, executive chef of The Highland Inn; Jason Hisley, owner and executive chef of La Cakerie; Zereana Jess-Huff, 2014 Mrs. Maryland; and Mindy Basara, news anchor for WBAL-TV 11.

Proceeds from the Chocolate Ball benefit The Arc of Howard County’s vocational and residential supports and services, respite care, and other programs and services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For more information and photos of the event, visit