GREENFIELD – It all started with a crazy idea.
At least that’s how Retta Livengood describes the choice 13 years ago to kick off the Chocolate Walk in downtown Greenfield. The idea has grown to where hundreds of adults and families over the years have enjoyed a tradition of sampling sweet treats and visiting downtown businesses and nonprofits.
This year’s Chocolate Walk is Friday, Aug 12 and tickets usually sell out fast, said Livengood, director of the Greenfield area Chamber of Commerce.
After all, “chocolate is vital to our survival,” as it says in promotional material for the event. “Dinosaurs didn’t have chocolate and look what happened to them.”
The event is all about good humor, community and fun.
“I love the fact that we have people walking downtown, perhaps going into stores they might not normally go into, seeing what they have available, meeting the owners,” Livengood said. “It’s an awesome event, it’s my favorite to see people walking downtown with their pink bags, gathering chocolate, maps in hand.”
Many participants set up treats in their own stores. Other businesses, who may be located outside of the downtown district, set up in the Living Alley or near the Chamber building.
Some churches even get involved. Last year Bradley United Methodist Church set up a chocolate ice cream bar, while Greenfield Christian Church served chocolate mousse.
Livengood loves the creativity and initiative some vendors pursue. Highsmith Guns, for example, has offered gun-shaped treats; Wooden Bear offered chocolate adult beverages; Joyner Homes, house-shaped chocolates. All vendors are requested to set out gourmet-style chocolates.
Sarah McKee, loan officer for Union Savings and Loan, has ordered 300 Butter Chip Bakery cookies of different flavors, all chocolate-themed.
“We like chocolate and I think it’s just a nice community event, it’s a downtown atmosphere,” McKee said. “We usually stay in the Living Alley and it’s just a lot of fun to be a part of that. There’s a constant flow of people.”
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the event, but Livengood said last year tickets sold out early. Prices are the same regardless of age, but she suggests if people are strolling a tyke, consider simply sharing bites of chocolate with their little one.
Livengood is hoping for at least 25 vendors to participate this year. Most are members of the Chamber. Participants can vote on a people’s choice award.
“It can be a date night, it’s a family night,” she said. “We’ve also had lots of times where there are multiple couples, maybe ending up grabbing some food and drink downtown.”