PORTSMOUTH — Never doubt the popularity of chocolate.
Main Street Portsmouth (MSP) hosted the annual “Ellen Vetter Chocolate Walk” on Saturday, Feb. 6, starting at 11 a.m., and its organizers, community members and participating merchants came out in record numbers to support the very popular and growing event.
“We sold out pretty fast,” Joseph Pratt, Executive Director of Main Street Portsmouth said. “We sold 400 tickets, which is 100 more than last year, and we had so many calls and email from people wanting more.”
Sue Burke, immediate past president of MSP, said the event is in its eighth year and has become a wonderful way to highlight retail shops, restaurants and many other downtown Portsmouth businesses that many people may not normally visit.
“We are honoring a great business person, community leader and wonderful woman in Ellen Vetter,” Burke said. “We came up with this idea for Portsmouth together and I am happy to see it so well received by both the community and merchants.”
Vetter passed away four years ago, Burke said. Over the years, this event has turned into one of MSP’s most popular events.
“Ellen would be so vey happy to see how it has grown over the years,” she said.
Participant walkers checked in at Port City Pub & Cafe on Chillicothe Street in downtown Portsmouth and picked up a map that took them to 32 stops.
“They make their way through the stops, tasting chocolate treats or receiving other items and gifts from participating businesses,” Pratt explained. “Coffee at the Lofts had chocolate covered coffee beans, while other merchants had special items and sales for the event.”
The Scioto County Welcome Center, the Sweet Boutique on Chillicothe Street, Morgan Brothers Jewelers, Ghosts in the Attic, Remember When Antiques, Market Street Hardware, Trendz Within, and many other Portsmouth businesses participated in the event named in memory of Vetter.
“She was a major supporter of downtown Portsmouth and was a part of everything that was positive for the area and made sure it was the best that it could be,” Pratt said. “We commemorate her by having one of our largest events of the year named after her.”
For $5, participants were handed a bag of information, including a map of the participating businesses. Participants spent the day strolling downtown, taking in unique building architecture and rich history, while also checking out the small businesses, while collecting treats.
“This just shows how much this event is embraced and loved by the Portsmouth community,” Pratt said. “This was an awesome way for people to come downtown and participate in an activity involving so many businesses. This gave people a chance to walk door to door and see what some of these businesses offer.”
He said the event is not only a good way to get more people in downtown Portsmouth, it’s also good for the businesses.
“I’ve heard from some of the businesses about how it benefits their business. (During the event) there are a lot of people that come to their businesses that might not otherwise,” Pratt said.
For more information about the programs and activities of Main Street Portsmouth, find them on Facebook or visit www.mspohio.org.
Reach editor Fred Pace by calling 740-353-3101, ext. 1927, by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @fcpace62.