By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Downtown Bowling Green has seen its share of bar crawls. But Friday’s crawl was different – this one was for chocolate craving patrons.
“We’re getting chocolate wasted tonight,” Brenda Rausch said with a smile, as she and friends left a store after gathering a chocolate treat.
The Chocolate Crawl, which kicked off Bowling Green’s Winterfest Chillabration weekend, involved 18 downtown stores, and raised money for United Way of Wood County. Since this was the first Chocolate Crawl in Bowling Green, the thought was to start out small. But once the word was out, the tickets went like – well, candy. The goal to sell 200 tickets was quickly surpassed, with the sales finally cut off at 400.
“We could have sold a lot more tickets,” said Sue Clanton, director of the United Way in Wood County.
Participants were given golden tickets promising “chocolate treats beyond your wildest dreams.” They were also given downtown maps with red hearts signifying each of the 18 businesses handing out chocolate delicacies.
The stores participating in the Chocolate Crawl provided their own treats, Clanton said.
“They came up with whatever they wanted to serve,” she said.
For Waddington Jewelers, that meant a chocolate fountain. For the Cookie Jar, that meant chocolate cookies warm from the oven. And for Reverend’s Bar & Grill, that meant choco-tinis – at least for those crawlers over age 21.
“Everybody’s come up with something unique,” Clanton said.
As Brenda Rausch, Pam Irwin, Jolynn Feather and Erika Harris made their way on the crawl, they visited shops they had not been in before.
“I’m going to come back here,” Rausch said about the Painted Clovers shop.
“It’s a great thing for the community to bring people downtown,” Irwin said.
About an hour into the Chocolate Crawl, the women’s favorite was the chocolate cupcakes from Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Retro.
Later along the chocolate tour, the group had a new favorite – the chocolate martinis. “This is worth every hot flash we’ve had this evening,” Irwin said.
Elsewhere on the crawl, Kelly Driver and Tara Barker came prepared with bags to carry home their chocolate goodies.
“Our favorite so far is the Eden brownies,” from Eden Fashion Boutique, with the chocolate doughtnut holes and hot cocoa from Grounds for Thought coming in second, Driver said.
At Waddington Jewelers, people lined up to drench marshmallows and strawberries in the chocolate fountain. Waiting his turn was Zach Durliat, a Bowling Green State University student from Arlington.
“We’re college students, so we love free food,” or at least very inexpensive food, Durliat said. “Free food – we’re there. Plus, it’s a good thing to do on a Friday night.”
The chocolate fountain proved to be so popular that the store staff had to run out to resupply the strawberries and skewers.
Nearby at the Farm Girls Vintage shop, owners Michelle Charniga and Jennie Reynolds stocked up by making more than 250 cupcakes and 200 cookies – chocolate, of course.
At Art-a-Site! Studio, the chocolate éclairs were a hit with Yaohan Chen, who was using the “crawl” as a way to get chocolate and learn about the downtown.
“I like chocolate,” he said. “And it seems like a good idea to learn about the businesses.”
As she went from store to store Friday evening, Mary Hinkelman, of Downtown BG, was pleased with the popularity of the event. “For the first time out, this is great,” she said.
Downtown stores participating in the Chocolate Crawl were Art-a-Site! Studio, Ben Franklin, Beckett’s Burger Bar, Call of the Canyon, Cookie Jar, Coyote Beads & Jewelry, Eden Fashion Boutique, Farm Girls Vintage Boutique, For Keeps Gifts, Grounds for Thought, Mode Elle Boutique, Painted Clovers, Reverend’s Bar & Grill, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro, SamB’s, Sugar Ridge Brewery, Waddington Jewelers and United Way in Wood County.