WEST OCEAN CITY – A unique event designed to familiarize the community with the growing fleet of businesses in West Ocean City has expanded this year and has high hopes for surpassing last year’s auspicious beginning.
The 2nd Annual Death by Chocolate was inspired by a similar event held each year in Chincoteague, Va., according to CraZy LadyZ owner Jan Patterson, a West Ocean City merchant as well as in the historic district of the seaside Virginia town.
“Last year we thought it would be kind of fun and try it in West Ocean City,” Patterson said. “We incorporated the same idea up here, but we did it to create an awareness of the kind of merchants that we have in West Ocean City. We found out a number of people who attended last year’s event did not even know a lot of us existed over here. It was a terrific opportunity to show people what we were all about. It’s just a wonderful day to journey through the various stores and each merchant will have some form of chocolate.”
Here’s how Death by Chocolate works: All participating merchants will be open on Sunday, Feb. 22 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Attendees must pick up a clue card, explore the participating West Ocean City merchants, pick up the clues at each business and drop off their completed clue card off at Sunset Grille by 6 p.m. to be entered into a drawing for a number of giveaways from all the participating merchants. Along the way, enjoy some tasty chocolate treats and browse the offerings available at the stores.
“All you do is go pick up a game card, journey to the stores and find a clue to match up to your card. We have turned it into a game of Clue this year with crazy suspects, all in the theme of chocolate, like Peppermint Patty or Bon Bon Bon Jovi,” she said. “Then go to Sunset Grille, drop off your card by 6 p.m. and the drawings will be held at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.”
Patterson said last year’s premier event exceeded her expectations, and this year’s affair has attracted 16 merchants compared to 12 last year.
Along with CraZy LadyZ, participating businesses this year will be Paws and Claws, Live Long Fitness, The Hi-Def Store, Ancient Arts, Monkeys Trunk, Kendall Home Furnishings, Sea of Seduction, Wockenfuss, D.A. Kozma Jewelers, Bead Creation Station, Desserts by Rita, Alluring Accents, Cat & Canine Comforts, Blue Moon Boutique, Snapdragon and Sunset Grille.
“Last year was fabulous. I had said to the merchants if we could 40 people to play the game, that’s a good day in the dead of winter. Much to our amazement, there were over 300 that played the game and I know Sunset Grille booked up early for reservations,” she said.
According to Patterson, the event also helped bring a boost to business for the merchants. At her store, she said new people discovered her wares on the day of the first Death by Chocolate and returned days later to purchase items when it was not so busy.
“It was great, not only on the day of the event but afterwards. There were so many people, many who saw things they liked but wanted to come back to various merchants after the fact,” Patterson said. “Many of us run specials that day and that helps as well.”
After all the merchants have closed for the evening, they will venture to Sunset Grille to join those who participated in the event for happy hour drink specials from 3-6 p.m., other specials and $4 chocolate martinis to keep with the theme of the event. Sunset Grille will be offering a free entrée with the purchase of one appetizer and one entrée. Call the restaurant at 410-213-8110 for reservations under Death by Chocolate. For more information on the event, call Patterson at 410-213-2085.
“It’s just a happy day. The Super Bowl is over, Valentine’s Day has passed … everyone’s chomping at the bit for spring. It’s sort of winter’s last hoorah,” Patterson said.