The Willy Wonka-inspired contest celebrates the Cincinnati Zoo resident's fifth birthday.
Graeter's Fiona Bar

In "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," the allure of the Golden Ticket isn't simply that you win a prize. Even better, it offers a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience, an opportunity that can't be obtained through any other means. You can't go out and buy a visit to Willy Wonka's factory; you can only win one. It's sort of like... a kiss from a hippo?

Fiona was born a star: The hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden gained instant fame when she arrived prematurely at a mere 29 pounds, the lowest recorded birth weight for her species. Her ability to overcome those odds and mature into a 1,500-plus-pound preschooler has been recognized with her own ice cream flavor and beer, and her birthdays have come with a big to-do.

So, to celebrate Fiona's fifth birthday, Cincinnati's own Graeter's Ice Cream is launching a "Golden Ticket" contest. Five tickets will be hidden among 7,500 Graeter's Fiona chocolate bars — retail price, $5 — with lucky winners receiving a unique kiss painting from the now 1,500-plus-pound hippo. To create the (admittedly cool-looking) paintings, zookeepers put animal-friendly paint on Fiona's snout which she then presses against a canvas, according to WLWT.

hippo painting
Credit: Courtesy of Cincinnati Zoo

"We can only make a certain amount, so we made 7,500 bars," Chip Graeter, the company's chief of retail operations, told the news station. "Which sounds like a lot to me, but they tell me that they will sell out very quickly."

The chocolate bars can be purchased at the 23 Graeter's scoop shops in the greater Cincinnati area or through the Cincinnati Zoo's website. "You really win no matter what, since you still get a delicious chocolate bar even if yours doesn't have a golden ticket inside," Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard said. "Graeter's is donating a portion of all Fiona bar proceeds to the zoo, so Fiona wins, too!"

Meanwhile, if chocolate isn't your thing, The Takeout points out that you can also attend Fiona's Virtual Birthday Party, which comes with its own chance to win a Fiona kiss painting — no golden ticket required.

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