HUNDREDS of sweet-toothed children and adults defied the torrential rain on Saturday to make a town’s chocolate festival a tasty success.

They headed to Accrington town centre despite awful weather to meet characters from the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, play a giant snakes and ladders game, and listen to a tribute act to chart-topping 70s and 80s band Hot Chocolate.

More than 20 foot and sweet stalls did a brisk trade despite the pouring rain while traditional fairground rides were also popular and offered some shelter.

A costumed Little Miss Wonka, Willie's daughter, and her Oompa Loompas welcomed 1,000 chocoholics who braved the rain to attend Accrington’s second Chocolate Festival while dozens of children played the giant game of snakes and ladders in the new Town Square to win a family trip to Cadbury World worth more than £200.

Event organiser Zahida Shamim from Burnley’s Scott Dawson Advertising, said: “We’ve had more than 1,000 people come despite the rain.

“It was absolutely bucketing down this morning but people still turned out. There was a real carry on despite the weather spirit about the event.

“Although there were less people than last year, it seemed busier.

There were more than 200 youngsters playing the snakes and ladders game.

“It just goes to show that chocoholics and children will turn out to a Chocolate Festival whatever the weather.”

The winner of the giant snakes and ladders will be announced at the Accrington office of festival sponsors Property Shop today.

Paul Williams, of the Chocamor stall, said: “We had a great day. People came despite the rain. We’ll definitely come next year.”

Ms Shamim said: “We’ll be back again next year. I just hope the weather is better.”

Steven Chippendale, joint managing director of Property Shop said: “Events like this raise the profile of our town, as a business it’s so important for us to be involved and we are pleased to be sponsoring it for the second year running.”

Cllr Miles Parkinson, leader of Hyndburn Borough Council said: “We are delighted to be part of such a great event.”