Main Street Kent’s Chocolate Walk brings the community to Downtown Kent

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The Kent State Hotel and Conference Center decorated for Main Street Kent’s Chocolate Walk. 

Chloe Zofchak Reporter

Despite the cold temperatures, people found their way to Downtown Kent in search of shopping, food and most importantly chocolate. 

Main Street Kent’s Chocolate Walk, sponsored by Squirrel City Jewelers, is an annual event in which ticket holders walk around Downtown Kent collecting chocolate treats at the local businesses. Over 15 businesses participated in the event, bringing in a large crowd. Tickets were sold online prior to the event and sold out the same day they were released. 

“We always sell out, but this year it was like a three hour sell-out,” said Heather Malarcik, executive director of Main Street Kent. “We haven’t had any real events since March. I think people were pretty excited to get out.” 

With the mixture of cold weather and COVID-19 keeping the community inside, the Kent Chocolate Walk was welcomed as a relief from the indoors. Groups of people flooded the streets of Kent, maps in hand, searching for the unique chocolate treats from participating businesses. 

“Honestly, I haven’t been to Downtown since last February,” said Chase Brown, a sophomore digital media production major. “It’s nice to get out of the house and walk around to all the businesses.” 

Some businesses, like Barrio Tacos, had tables outside where ticket holders could get their chocolate as they walked past. Other businesses, such as Popped! and UniversiTees, had their treats inside of the building. 

“It’s great getting all these faces back out onto the streets. [The Chocolate Walk is] something to do and something to get some more business for our local shops,” Malarcik said. 

Although COVID-19 affected the event, Malarcik said Main Street Kent changed the event entirely to meet COVID-19 protocols. The safety of the community and staff of the event were of utmost importance. 

“We [Main Street Kent] were still able to sell 200 tickets, but we had 40 people checking in every 30 minutes and had three socially distanced registration tables. We are also sending people out in different directions,” Malarcik said in regards to the changes made. “The expanse of the event from the heart of Downtown all the way to Kent Cycle. As each group comes through, we send them to a different area to hopefully keep people spread out pretty well.”

Throughout the afternoon, people found themselves in every corner of the city, bringing life to the streets that have recently been almost empty. 

“We are super happy to have a great turnout this year. The businesses need it and so does the community,” Malarcik said. “People need fresh air and something to do, the businesses need people to come in and support them. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Chloe Zofchak covers the City of Kent. Contact her at [email protected]