Oh my my! You’ll think you’ve died and gone to Pennsylvania.
Story by Andrew McLaughlin
Photos by Jeff Lautenberger
You have to admit: If you want to attract patrons to a fundraiser, chocolate is a strong draw. Apologies to other Kiwanis clubs, but chocolate might just trump pancakes.
That’s perhaps why the Kiwanis Club of Lititz Area, Pennsylvania, has run its Lititz Chocolate Walk every October for 12 years now. Dubbed the “Chocolate for Charity” event, the Lititz Chocolate Walk showcases some of the region’s most talented chefs, chocolatiers and candymakers, who whip up cocoa confections to raise money for kids’ needs.
“We will distribute more than US$50,000 from the 2013 walk,” says Lititz Area Kiwanian and Chocolate Walk Chairman Mark Freeman. “We hold a special evening every year where we invite our chocolate vendors to come and see what their efforts benefit.”
Some patrons call it “trick or treat for grown-ups.” Others just enjoy the chance to sample chocolate goodies and enjoy the ambience of Lititz, a 257-year-old town that’s packed with heritage—and apparently chocolate.
“It’s a community event that brings people to town and gets them into our many eclectic shops,” Freeman says. “Our host retailers benefit tremendously. Many tell us they have one of their best days of the year on Chocolate Walk day. Some say it’s the unofficial kickoff for the holiday season in Lititz.”
The club shares its success, helping other communities organize similar events. A nearby retirement center now runs a “chocolate stroll” each winter, but the club’s event reigns supreme in the region.
“During our third walk in 2004, we had a torrential downpour, and it did not slow things down,” Freeman says. “No one complained. They were all focused on the chocolate. That was the year we knew we had something special.”
This story originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of Kiwanis magazine.