Annual Chocolate Walk makes downtown Kent a lot sweeter

Emma MacNiven, Reporter


Taproot, a catering company co-owned and managed by Linda Fiala and husband, J Michael Fiala took advantage of the Chocolate Walk to promote some of their tasty chocolate confessions like their chocolate mousse. (Eman Abu-Khaled)

Maps in hand, Kent residents took to the streets of downtown on the hunt for drinks, chocolates and desserts.

The annual Main Street Kent Chocolate Walk Feb. 19 brought together chocolate lovers to support the local businesses. Each of the 30 participating businesses supplied a “sweet treat” for attendees– everything ranging from ice cream to spiced hot chocolate.

Dirty Skate, a skateboarder enthusiasts’ center for anything from wheels to boards and accessories participated in the Chocolate Walk. Overseeing the shop for the event was Josh Wilson. (Eman Abu-Khaled)

“They tried a lot of our chocolate products like the chocolate smoothies, peanut butter energy bites, chocolate chia pudding. So we had more variety for people to try,” said Natasha Bastrakob, owner of Kwench Juice Cafe.

Natasha Bastrakob, owner and manager of downtown Kent’s juice cafe, Kwench, was thrilled for the opportunity to interact with the community and promote her business in the Chocolate Walk. (Eman Abu-Khaled)

This year is different from Chocolate Walks prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2020, Kent put a DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area) into effect, which allows those 21 and older to carry alcoholic drinks outside within a designated area.

“Now, places that have a liquor license can offer an alcoholic beverage … that pairs with whatever treat they are giving away,” said Michael Faehnel, owner of Squirrel City Jewelers.

Adrienne Blair, an employee working the day of the Chocolate Walk at Hippie Fox Rocks located in downtown Kent. Blair was hopeful and eager for the day and the possibilities that will come out of it. (Eman Abu-Khaled)

Tickets to the Chocolate Walk could be upgraded to include alcoholic beverages, which drew in the adult crowd. With the pandemic taking a toll on the event’s popularity last year, this year the business owners hoped for more of a turnout.

“Some people told me they haven’t been here since COVID. They haven’t even walked the streets of Kent,” said Bastrakob.

Ticketholders were entered in a raffle for a chocolate diamond and ruby necklace from Squirrel City Jewelers, retailing at $1,249. The second winner won a ten pound chocolate bar from Popped.

Michael Faehnel (farthest left), owner of Squirrel City Jewelers, played a major role in the Chocolate walk as the main sponsor for the event. (Eman Abu-Khaled)

“Everybody is excited because they’re kind of on this super scavenger hunt, adult scavenger hunt, and even the kids that come along for the ride are a lot of fun,” said Faehnel.

The Main Street Kent Organization sponsors the annual event. All proceeds benefit their non-profit in efforts to keep Kent a growing, vibrant city.

 Emma MacNiven is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]