SALEM - An event for chocoholics to get their sugar fix and for showcasing downtown businesses will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 1, dubbed the Historic Downtown Salem Chocolate Crawl.
Sponsored by the Salem Preservation Society as a fundraiser, the crawl will feature chocolate in every form imaginable - plain chocolate, chocolate-covered oreos, chocolate coffee, hot chocolate, chocolate cookies, chocolate fudge, chocolate mousse, chocolate with bacon, chocolate candy and the list continues.
Organizer Ginger Grilli said they had two goals in mind: an event that would be fun and a means to bring people downtown and get them inside the stores to see what they have to offer.
"The whole idea is to generate some business. There's lots of activity downtown," she said.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. The chocolate crawl will work like a home tour. Grilli explained that each ticket allows the holder to select 15 items to eat on site or to take home, with each merchant who provides an item marking the holder's ticket.
The chocolate crawl will begin at the Smucker House, located at 271 S. Broadway Ave., where the Salem Preservation Society will provide a map, a list of downtown merchants and the chocolate items they're providing, a take-out box and a bonus item.
Merchants will have special offers and activities during the chocolate crawl, including some activities for children.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, Salem Giant Eagle, Vivian's Antiques in Columbiana, Heggy's Confectionary in Alliance, Richardson Monuments in Lisbon and Poland Giant Eagle.
The timing of the event falls after Valentine's Day, in the winter when there's not as much happening, and before Lent when people sacrifice chocolate and other items as part of their journey in preparation for Easter.
In the past, Grilli said the Salem Preservation Society had been looking at the viability of structures downtown and facade improvements. Then they thought if the businesses themselves were viable and doing better, preservation will happen.
The organization's focus this year is downtown Salem. Grilli said money raised through the event will go into preservation projects.
One upcoming project will be a free building doctor talk from 7 to 10 p.m. April 3 at the KSU City Center. Experts from the Ohio Historic Preservation Office will give people advice on repairs and maintenance of older buildings. They'll also have an opportunity to apply for a visit by the building doctors, who will go to 10 different places to look at the structures and offer their ideas.
More than 50 downtown businesses will be participating in the chocolate crawl, including a few that haven't opened yet.
The list of businesses includes: BB Rooners; Byler, Wolfe, Lutsch & Kampfer CPAs; CI Ohio Ltd.; Consumers Bank; Cornerstone Antiques; Daydreamers Art Studio for Children; DoLiv Publishing; Euro Gyro; Ezio's Italian Restaurant; Expert Tire; Finer Things Boutique; Flying Pig Saloon; Friends Roastery; Game On! Video, Games & More; H&R Block/Sara Mastrangelo; Heggy's Confectionary; Hofmeister Realty; Key Bank; Kidzone; Knit Wit Knits; JP Antiques; Lease Drug; Lion & Lamb; Mac's Army Navy Surplus; Moonstone Massotherapy; Mosblack's Hobby Shop; Natural Solutions; Pet Zone; Price2Sell Music; Pure Pet; Raymond's Ice Cream Parlor; Ricciardi Family Chiropractic; Ricky's English Pub; Salem City Hall; Salem Community Theatre; Salem Fun Factory; Salem Historical Society & Museum; Salem Preservation Society; Salem Storybook Museum; Salem Memorial Building; Second Blessing Thrift, Consignment, Resale; Sherwin Williams; Smokin' Marty's BBQ; Sourball Python Studios/Marketing; State Farm Insurance/Gina McQuillan; State Street Salon; State Street Tattoo; Sun Fantasy Tanning Salon; Troll's Jewelry; Warwick Auction; and Zeigler's Trophies.
To learn more about the Salem Preservation Society, visit the group's website at www.salempreservationsociety.org.