Main Street Portsmouth and more than 30 businesses are preparing for the annual Ellen Vetter Chocolate Walk, which is set for Saturday, Feb. 8.
The annual celebration is in its 11th year, which was started by its namesake Ellen Vetter, as well as Promotions Committee Chairwoman of the time Laurel DeAtley. It has continued its goal of bringing people downtown to enjoy the local businesses, as they pick up sweet treats along the way.
“This event has continued to be one of our favorites, as tickets sell out very quickly each year,” Main Street Portsmouth Executive Director Joseph Pratt said. “Additionally, while the chocolate walk fad has crossed most cities in Ohio, our walk continues to be one of the largest and most affordable for guests.”
While it can be a huge ordeal for businesses to prepare for 300 guests, Pratt said everyone who participates has a great time.
“The chocolate walk is an exciting and unique time,” Happy Pot owner Cinamon Wellington said. “It is a great way for people to get out and walk downtown, see the shops and restaurants, and enjoy themselves in a fun way. We love really getting into it at The Happy Pot, too, because it is another avenue for us to explore our creativity.”
Not only do restaurants and shops participate, but many other downtowners jump into the fun, including agencies and salons.
“Salon on Second is always excited to participate in downtown events and causes,” Salon owner Alisha Davis Flaig said. “We love being a big part of the downtown, and being one of the reasons why so many people make trips to our historic district. The Chocolate Walk is a great way for people to see how beautiful our shop is and learn what services we provide, while also giving us a chance to give back to the guests and people who care about downtown as well.”
The walk always begins at Port City Café and Pub, at 10 a.m., where guests check in and receive a map of participating businesses, as well as a handy Shawnee State University bag to store any treats they don’t want to eat the day of the event.
Guests then have the remainder of the business day to walk through downtown, tasting chocolates and more along the way.
After years of requests, Main Street is also offering a premium ticket feature, which will include treats at stops outside of the downtown as well.
“While it certainly won’t be a walkable section of the event, more along the lines of a hop, but we have had people asking about including other area cornerstones as well so we want to test it out,” Pratt said. “We think it could lend itself to extra stops and more fun, so we decided to have 100 of the tickets include premium stops. So, people who have those tickets will be able to visit all of downtown participants and the extra stops as well.”
Pratt also said the walk is celebrating 11 years with a new T-shirt for the walk. It is a modern and stylish design that features the namesake of Ellen Vetter’s legacy, “B Sweete Chocolataire,” the chocolate shop that started it all.
“People are excited about the shirts, because they look nice and they honor such a wonderful woman who impacted the downtown in great ways,” Pratt said. “We are striving to keep her memory alive with this walk. Co-founder of Main Street, Sue Burke, continues the work they started year after year and we collectively look for ways to grow the walk that she started.”
Standard tickets, $8, can be purchased at the Scioto County Welcome Center, Bihls Office Supply, Morgan Brothers, Remember When, Ghosts in the Attic, and Port City Café and Pub. Premium tickets, $15, can be purchased online, on EventBrite, and at the Scioto County Welcome Center. People will have between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to get their walk complete, after they start at Port City Café and Pub.
Main Street Portsmouth is a 501©3 nonprofit in downtown Portsmouth with the mission of building community by revitalizing the downtown. They are responsible for all of the downtown beautification and flower planting; they host over 55 events a year; and oversee the building improvement grant program, in partnership with the City of Portsmouth.