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On Saturday, February 11, there was plenty of love to combat the chill in the air at the heart of Historical Fairhaven. With a nearly five-mile path to collecting 18 different, delicious chocolates, the tiny cold nip was quite refreshing and a perfect partner while gallivanting around the shops and art galleries.

Executive Director Heather Carter invited WhatcomTalk to enjoy the treasure-filled event and spoke about her first year overseeing the Chocolate Walk. “It’s about integrating our visitors with our small businesses in the village,” she says. “The Chocolate Walk is perfect around Valentine’s Day.”

Discovering New Businesses and Visiting the Familiar

Throughout the day, walking from established businesses to a popup, an art gallery, and more, participants were given the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of all Fairhaven has to offer. “We had 18 different stops along the walk and visitors started here at the hub in Finnegan’s Alley,” says Carter. “Ticketed visitors came in, got their bag, a little bracelet for participating, and a treasure map pinpointing all the different stops along the walk.”

Chocolate Walk visitors were encouraged to meander through the neighborhood and stop to get lunch while out with their partners. Photo credit: Kelley White

Every stop had a unique chocolate for visitors to try with 17 out of the 18 treats originating from around Washington State. “Evolve made several,” says Carter. “There was a variety of fun flavors. It was truly a treasure map to go around and pick out all the different chocolates. And we have several new businesses, so this was a cool event to help showcase some of those.”

Perks

Those that purchased a couples package received a $10 shop local gift card and wine included. Individual ticket holders had the opportunity to purchase a glass of port or sparkling wine. Some businesses had deals associated with the walk and welcomed visitors into every shop they entered. Often, businesses spoke about the chocolates and where they came from or what their flavorings featured.

“The weather held out and everyone seemed really happy,” Carter says. “About 98% of the people who bought tickets actually showed up for the event, which is a great pickup.”

The walk began at Finnegan’s Alley, home of the Fairhaven Association. Photo credit: Kelley White

Perfecting the Event for Next Year

Overall, the event was a resounding success, but Carter hopes to implement a few tweaks for next year. “I’ve already had a few people recommend some different local chocolatiers, so we would like to expand our list of vendors to use for chocolates,” says Carter. “We will probably create more of a passport program in the future so that visitors can mark off as they go, and maybe we’ll list the chocolates on the passports as well, so it’s easier for people to tell what all the chocolates are.”

The interaction between the public and Fairhaven’s businesses was part of the value behind the walking tour. “We know that kind of event works really well here, and people were drawn to it,” Carter says. “A few came back and said they had a great time and had great interaction with the local businesses, so I am thrilled with how it went.”

Participating businesses shared where their chocolates came from and the unique flavors of each morsel. Photo credit: Kelley White

More Fun in Fairhaven

Throughout the year, Fairhaven holds several community events that encourage folks from around Whatcom County to come and enjoy the unique historical neighborhood. “Our focus with the Fairhaven Association is to open everyone’s eyes to all our cool businesses in the village and discover some places you might not have realized are here,” says Carter. “We encourage people to remember that the Fairhaven Association holds all kinds of events all year long and they can go to enjoyfairhaven.com to see the list of our next events, like the Dirty Dan Mystery Weekend.”

The Chocolate Walk event featured 18 stops around the historical neighborhood, highlighting local commerce. Photo credit: Kelley White

18 Stops, 18 Chocolates

A full listing of featured businesses and chocolates:

  • FAIRHAVEN ASSOCIATION HUB – Seattle Chocolate Co, Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 12TH STREET SHOES – Seattle Chocolate Co, Mexican Hot Chocolate
  • ADORED BOUTIQUE – Seattle Chocolate Co, Pink Bubbly
  • BELLA ROSE BOUTIQUE – Spokandy, Huckleberry Cream
  • BELLINGHAM TRAINING & TENNIS CLUB – Spokandy, Birthday Cake Truffle
  • BERKSHIRE HATH. BAYSIDE REALTY – Chukar Cherries, Cabernet Cherries
  • CURRENT & FURBISH – Evolve, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt
  • FAIRHAVEN COFFEE – Seattle Chocolate Co, Espresso
  • GALLERY/ ECHO CHERNIK – Chukar Cherries, Truffle Cherries
  • GOOD EARTH POTTERY – Evolve, Dark Chocolate Orange
  • LULULEMON – Spokandy, Lemon Zest Truffle
  • PETER JAMES PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY – Boehm’s, Rum Encore
  • REDWOOD GROUP / EXP – Seattle Chocolate Co, San Juan Sea Salt
  • THE GARDEN ROOM – Boehm’s, Raspberry Encore
  • THREE FRENCH HENS – Belgium Chocolate Source, White Chocolate Mushrooms
  • VILLAGE BOOKS – Evolve, Dark Chocolate Rose Water
  • WHATCOM ART MARKET – Spokandy, Cookies n Cream
  • WHIMSEY – Theo Chocolate, Apple cider caramels
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