In this file photo from the 2017 Chocolate Walk, participants start their chocolatey tour through downtown Van Wert at the Main Street Van Wert building. (DHI Media/File Photo/Kirsten Barnhart)
In this file photo from the 2017 Chocolate Walk, participants start their chocolatey tour through downtown Van Wert at the Main Street Van Wert building. (DHI Media/File Photo/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – The 4th annual Chocolate Walk will take participants on a delicious stroll through downtown Van Wert on Friday, Feb. 9 as citizens gather sweet treats from 28 local businesses.

“Chocolate Walks have been successful in other communities,” said Main Street Van Wert Program Manager Dan Baisden. “Being a part of Heritage Ohio we get to work with 22 other Main Streets across the state. We saw success in a couple of other communities that have done this.”

Since bringing the Chocolate Walk to Van Wert, more and more businesses and citizens have joined in on the fun each year. A ticket limit is imposed each year to make sure businesses don’t become overwhelmed. Last year 180 tickets were sold with 22 businesses participating. This year 250 tickets were sold with 28 businesses participating.

The Chocolate Walk will take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with the route starting at the Main Street Van Wert office who will hand out DeBrand Fine Chocolates as well as a map with participating businesses highlighted.

The event will end at the Wassenberg Art Center who will be celebrating the opening party of Van Wert Represents!, an art display featuring scenes of Van Wert. The Wassenberg will have wine and chocolate parings and will also have homemade soups and freshly baked breads for a donation. Music will be provided by Weston Thompson who will play the baby grand piano.

Horse-drawn carriage rides will also be available up and down Main Street.

Baisden noted that while some businesses will have chocolate candies, others will have different types of chocolatey treats.

“We have a business doing a hot chocolate bar,” said Baisden. “There’s going to be chocolate wine. We have someone doing a chocolate health shake.”

On top of Friday’s downtown event, Baisden invited the public to shop local during the Sweet Sidewalk Sales event on Saturday. Many downtown businesses will be holding special sales, and a Main Street merchants pop-up event will take place at 111 N. Washington St.

As far as the Chocolate Walk goes, tickets for the event are sold out, but Baisden said that the event will certainly be one to come back year after year.

“If you didn’t get tickets, we’ll have it again next year,” said Baisden. “It keeps growing every year, but make sure you get your tickets early.”