By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – Despite cold temperatures, the seventh annual Chocolate Walk, held Feb. 13, was warmly received by attendees, Mayor Thomas Karnes said at the Feb. 16 City Council meeting.
“With everything that had been going on over the past year, we felt we needed a chance for a little bit of a celebration, and going out and seeing businesses again,” he said. “There is one thing for certain, through this COVID experience: The businesses are struggling, and there is no doubt about that.”
Karnes said 17 city businesses participated in the event, to which attendees would go in, get a sticker on their sheet, and most of the businesses provided attendees with a chocolate.
“I want to thank my wife,” he said. “I drug her in to each of the businesses, all being done safely, with social distancing, and wearing masks.”
Karnes praised the work of Downtown Development Authority director Carl Malysz and assistant director Timarie Szwed.
Szwed said the walk attracted more participants than originally anticipated, and said they needed to return to city hall to print up more maps.
She thanked Councilwoman Maureen Tobin for helping her learn to run the Chocolate Walk by passing on her experience.
“I am still new to the city, and new to doing these events, but, with her help, I was able to meet a lot of business owners,” she said. “There was a lot of footwork, getting out there in the cold.”
Szwed said some businesses were unable to participate because they are short-staffed right now, due to the pandemic.
She said the event was a lot of fun, and she enjoyed meeting residents.
The name of the winner of the gift basket was announced by the mayor at the city council meeting, with the prize awarded to attendee Juliette O’Reilly. To be eligible for the prize drawing, the participant had to get a sticker from each participating business on their sheet.
Karnes encouraged people to attend the event next year.
“It really is fun, getting out and meeting people, meeting the business owners, and seeing what they have in their shops,” he said.