The southern end of Carroll County will be all about chocolate-themed events during Valentine’s Day weekend.
On Friday, Mount Airy will hold its annual Mount Airy Chocolate Crawl from 5 to 8 p.m. On Saturday, Sykesville will host its annual Cocoa Crawl from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both events are rain or shine.
The Mount Airy Chocolate Crawl has been going on for the past five to six years, according to Ellie Bonde, member of the promotions committee of the Mount Airy Main Street Association.
The star of the event is the chocolate, of course, but the event will also feature free horse and buggy rides, a local musician, Mike Cavalier, will be playing a guitar along the street and in a song circle inside the Town Hall, composed of six to 12 people. People can just drop in to the song circle and join in to sing with them.
About 20 merchants will participate in the crawl and offer not only chocolate in various forms from candy to hot drinks, but will also have different promotions in their businesses.
According to Bonde, Miscellaneous Distillery will serve “Risky” Hot Chocolate, which will feature its Risky Rum. Deja Vu Boutique is giving away chocolate and is giving deep discounts. Patapsco Bicycles will also be having a sale on in-stock items and labor. Bonde’s business will have Sandy’s Sugar Shack to sell and sample chocolate-covered pretzels. And Tri Sport Junction will be giving away apple cider and other beverages.
The event serves as a way for members of the community to visit local businesses. Bonde also owns Blossom and Basket Boutique and uses the event to inform customers about her business.
“It brings people into the business that may not have been there before,” said Bonde. “For me, I’m thinking of my own personal business. People think we’re just a flower shop and then they walk in and they see that we sell jewelry and handbags and pottery and handmade soaps and lots of artwork on the walls."
The third annual Cocoa Crawl will be presented by the merchants of Main Street in Sykesville. The Cocoa Crawl will feature various flavors of hot cocoa provided by a variety of merchants.
Cocoa Crawl Commemorative Sykesville mugs will be available for sale while supplies last at the Patapsco Distilling Company on the day of the event. The commemorative traveling mug with a lid designed by the Main Street merchants will sell for $10 or five mugs for $40, according to the event’s Facebook page.
About 17 businesses will participate in the merchant hosted event to offer a variety of promotions from Sykesville businesses as part of the crawl.
According to Main Street Merchant Chair Jane Linde, Branches of Yoga and A Likely Story will have Nutella hot cocoa, Revive and Company will be offering a cocoa fixings bar, Tri Sport Junction will offer plain and spiked hot cocoa, firehouse creamery will add a little ice cream to its hot cocoa, the Vine on Main will spike cocoa with their ELS chocolate, coffee and chocolate mint wines and discount bottles of wine, Pin it Up Acupuncture is offering a discount on community acupuncture, Market Tavern with have Rumchata hot cocoa and discounts for those who show their mug or ticket, Samsara will have marshmallows for hot cocoa and discounted aromatherapy pillows and Norwood Ice Cream will have their handcrafted cocoa and marshmallow bar with dairy and non-dairy options available.
Additional restaurants like Baldwin’s Station, E.W. Becks Restaurant and Pub and the French Twist Cafe will also offer promotions for the crawl, according to Linde.
The Cocoa Crawl not only provides family fun but it also helps fund future community events, she said.
“It is really a fun event, it’s family oriented. A lot of families that come down together and just warm up with the cocoa,” said Linde, co-owner of Tri Sport Junction. “All the money goes back into the merchant funds so that we can do more of these events and that a lot of times we do host their First Fridays or times we have giveaways and things like that. So, this money helps offset those costs.”