Pictured are Grace (left) and Alli Spieles posing in the “kissing” booth at the YWCA where guests were able to collect a Hersey’s Kiss during the 2018 Chocolate Walk. The 2019 Downtown Chocolate Walk returns for the fourth year on Feb. 8. (DHI Media/File Photo/Kirsten Barnhart)
Pictured are Grace (left) and Alli Spieles posing in the “kissing” booth at the YWCA where guests were able to collect a Hersey’s Kiss during the 2018 Chocolate Walk. The 2019 Downtown Chocolate Walk returns for the fourth year on Feb. 8. (DHI Media/File Photo/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – Over 30 businesses, the most in its four years, will be participating in this year’s Downtown Van Wert Chocolate Walk. The Chocolate Walk will take place Friday, Feb. 8 from 5-8 p.m.

On the evening of the event, participants will begin at Main Street Van Wert at 136 E. Main St. where they will receive a bag sponsored by Stephanie Dawn, a chocolate voucher from DeBrand Fine Chocolates, and a map of participating businesses. From there, they will stroll through downtown collecting chocolate treats. The event will then end at the Wassenberg Art Center.

“The Wassenberg is having Muller Brew Barn this year, and they are going to put on a bit of show of what they are making and how they make it,” said Main Street Van Wert Director Mitch Price. “There is going to be some entertainment there as well throughout the night.”

The Wassenberg event is open to the public, regardless of if they take the tour or not, and will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Price said the tour gives residents a great opportunity to see what shops are downtown.

“We want people to support Main Street of Van Wert and we want them to support all of the downtown businesses,” said Price. “We feel like we’re growing every day and we have a lot of great businesses down town, a lot of different stuff to offer, and we want people to go into their stores and see what they are putting into their stores.”

In addition to the walk, a horse-drawn carriage ride up and down Main Street will return again this year. The rides, from Town & Country Carriage Service, are sponsored by Kitchens, Inc.

“We’re also offering a VIP experience with 133; they are doing a meal,” said Price. “That is an additional $20 and you can either pick from chicken Alfredo, beef steak, or pork chops. We encourage people to buy tickets for that that way they can either eat before or after the chocolate walk.”

The VIP Dining Experience will be held at 133 Bistro from 5-8 p.m. Only 80 tickets are available for the VIP event. Tickets are on sale at 133 Bistro, Truly D’Vine, and Main Street Van Wert.

“All of the businesses are great; they support Main Street and we support them,” said Price. “We just felt like adding dinner made sense because 133 is not open in the evenings. We think that’s a great idea to have.”

This year, 300 tickets are available for the Chocolate Walk. Price said as of Thursday, only a limited amount are left. Each year the walk sells-out and Price hopes that by adding more tickets more people will have an opportunity to stroll through downtown.

“Why not get more people downtown and more people in each business?” said Price as to why more tickets were added.

A limited number of tickets are still available for $20 and can be purchased in person at the MSVW office, 136 E. Main St., Collins Fine Foods, 223 N. Washington St., and Truly D’Vine, 117 W. Main St. Tickets may also be reserved over the phone.

For more information, visit www.mainstreetvanwert.org or call 419-238-6911.