Perry Chamber’s Chocolate Walk returns on Feb. 13 for 18th year

Allison Ullmann
Perry Chief
Cookies and chocolates are displayed along with a large heart and other Valentine’s Day gifts at Ben’s Five and Dime during the last year's Chocolate Walk.

The Perry Chamber of Commerce will host the 18th-annual Chocolate Walk on Saturday.

The event will still largely look the same, said Perry Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lynsi Pasutti, though precautions will be taken because of COVID-19.

“That’s kind of the theme, just keep rolling on with tradition,” Pasutti said.

The Chocolate Walk will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday with 12 stops this year. Pasutti said one of the changes will be that most, if not all, of the chocolate will be pre-packaged for attendees to take home. Having the treats to-go, she said, will help keep participants moving through the stores.

This year’s Chocolate Walk stops include:

  • Alice’s Haus Dresin
  • Atelier at 1109
  • Backwards Boutique
  • Ben’s Five and Dime
  • Betsy Peterson Designs
  • Hotel Pattee
  • Mary Rose Collection
  • Perry Flowers by Donna Jean 
  • Perry Paint and Glass 
  • Perry Perk
  • Salvaged Soul
  • The Scottish Fox

Pasutti said another change they made this year was to allow people to pre-order tickets. Postcards were mailed out to last year’s participants and Pasutti said they sold a select number of tickets before the online orders were closed.

Tickets are $10 and can be picked up in-person at Ben’s Five and Dime, Hotel Pattee, Alice’s Haus Dresin, Raccoon Valley Bank and Perry Perk through Saturday.

Madeline Roozeboom, right, picks up a chocolate treat at Salvaged Soul while Nicole Tornabane grabs their Chocolate Walk passports during last year's event.

Each of the dozen stops will offer various in-store specials and pre-packaged treats. Participants can get their Chocolate Walk passports stamped at each location. They can turn in their completed passports at the Hotel Pattee to be entered into the grand prize drawing for a free night’s stay.

Pasutti said Chocolate Walk participants should be respectful of business owners as well as other shoppers while out and about.

“I would say ultimately we want to keep our community, our visitors, our business owners safe and healthy. It’s a matter of continuing to do our part and being mindful of best practices and recommendations,” Pasutti said, including following social distancing and wearing face coverings.

She is looking forward to this year’s Chocolate Walk, which follows on the heels of the Perry Chamber’s annual Bike Ride to Rippey event.

“I talk about BRR really kicking us off for the new year,” Pasutti said of the chamber’s largest fundraiser of the year. “And I think that the Chocolate Walk is something that kicks off the new year for the merchants.”

She added that the Chocolate Walk is a way to remind people to get out and shop local. While Saturday will be on the cold side with a forecasted high of three degrees, Pasutti encourages customers to see what’s changed inside the businesses along the Chocolate Walk.

“If you haven’t been in since the holidays, a lot of these stores are flipped and ready to go and looking forward to spring,” Pasutti said. “It kind of gets us moving forward in that direction for warmer days, so we can at least feel like it’s around the corner.”

Shoppers have another opportunity to visit the local stores as a Sweetheart Sip and Shop will be held from 5-8 p.m. on Friday. 

“It’s nice for shoppers to have those extended hours and kind of encouraging them to get out while still maintaining safety precautions,” Pasutti said. “It’s that reminder for people to get out and about and see what’s new.”

Jeanette Neel picks up a piece of homemade fudge at Mary Rose Collection while Shannon Kovac and Mary Rose Nichols look on during last year's Chocolate Walk