2nd annual Sykesville Cocoa Crawl fills mugs from all over

SYKESVILLE — The second annual Sykesville Cocoa Crawl sold out of its 500 presale mugs and its 300 available for purchase the day of the Saturday event.

By 1 p.m., there were even cocoa crawlers without mugs traversing the stores on Main Street hoping to participate in the fun.


“We used to have an ice fest in February,” said Amie McCaslin, owner of A La Mode Boutique, around noon on Feb. 9, handing out mugs at Patapsco Distilling Co. “We wanted a reason to bring the community together — families and everything.

“I pitched the idea to the town last year and it sold out in an hour,” she said.


Aside from serving cocoa, the Main Street shops also participated in the event with chocolate specials.

Baldwin’s has its chocolatini, and Beck’s has a special brownie,” said McCaslin.

Downtown Sykesville was packed to the brim with people from all over Maryland and the mid-Atlantic on Saturday for its annual Craft Beer Festival despite the cold, windy weather.

Gladys Leonard, a Fayetteville, Pennsylvania, resident, said she learned about the crawl on Facebook and came with her daughter, Rachel Keane, and two sisters.

By about half past noon, they had tried cocoa at four different shops.


“At one place we tried bourbon, and at one there was a wine tasting,” she said sitting inside Firehouse Creamery. “Here, we are getting ice cream.”

Keane said Firehouse Creamery was her favorite spot, particularly because they put a scoop of South Mountain Creamery ice cream in their cocoa — and she enjoyed the “Dirt Road” flavor.

Leonard said her favorite so far was the chocolate wine sample she got from The Vine on Main.

“They had mint chocolate you put in your cocoa. It was good,” she said.

Across the street at The Vine, owner Ridie Dearie stood behind a table offering samples of Els Iced Chocolate, Els Iced Mint Chocolate and Els Iced Coffee.

“I carry this all the time,” said Dearie.

She explained the wine is made by Cayce Kerr, caddie to professional golfer Ernie Els, through a partnership between the two.

“It was a hit gift during the holiday season,” she said. “It tastes like liquor, but they’ve got a wine alcohol content.

“Last year I got all the organic stuff to make the cocoa and everything, and this year I said: ‘Forget it, I’m just spiking it!’ ” said Dearie.

Joe and Katrina Villegas stood outside The Vine with their two children, Caroline, 4, and William, 9 weeks.

The Frederick family also found the event through Facebook.

“We got cocoa and cookies, and little candy treats,” Joe Villegas said. “There’s something for everybody.”

“We’re headed for the Mexican hot chocolate now at [A Likely Story] book store.” said Katrina Villegas.

A Likely Story Bookstore, on Main Street in Sykesville, is one of five finalists for the annual Publishers Weekly Bookstore of the Year award to be announced in May.

They said they liked that some shops added peppermint schnapps and Irish cream to jazz up the cocoa on a cold day.

“Every store has a signature thing they do to the hot cocoa,” said Kim Milby, of Eldersburg, sitting inside Norwood Creamery with her daughter Kaylee, 9.

The two came to the Sykesville event for a mother-daughter day and were taking a break inside the ice cream shop for some French toast ice cream.

“We’re a big fan of Main Street,” Milby said. We bumped into a lot of people we know.”

Her favorite cocoa? The adult hot cocoa served at Revive.

“I liked the [Sykesville] Pottery [& Art Center] one,” said Kaylee. ‘It tastes like creamy and then chocolatey — like chocolate caramel, kind of.”

Because the chocolate-lovers event comes right before Valentine’s Day, A La Mode Boutique owner Amie McCaslin said the event has the potential to be a Sykesville staple.

“I love this event,” she said. “It brings out all ages and unlike a girl’s night or evening event, it’s good for everyone.”

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