For those who believe there's no such thing as too much chocolate, downtown Marietta's marquee Friday night event will be a little slice of heaven.
A chocolate drenched heaven with chocolate streets, chocolate rivers and chocolate cars that is. OK, not really, but considering participants can indulge in chocolate brownies, chocolate covered fruit, chocolate cake, gourmet chocolate, chocolate alcoholic drinks, chocolate mole sauce and much, much more - well, it's pretty darn close.
And that doesn't even mention other chocolate-themed items, such as chocolate scented candles and chocolate diamonds, available to participants or on display at the third annual Moonlight and Chocolate event that's set to kick off at 6 p.m.
"Everybody loves chocolate and shopping and when you marry the two together you can't miss," said Debbie Florence, coordinator of ReStore Marietta, the merchant group behind Friday's event.
Now in its third year, Moonlight and Chocolate has grown each year, with 150 tickets available for this year's event. What started as a way to get shoppers downtown after summer's big bang has now reached blossomed into a near cult-like following for chocolate and shopping lovers near and far.
"We just heard from three ladies today that are driving down from Columbus," Florence said.
A Unique Flower & Gift Shop, American Flags & Poles, Baker & Baker Jewelers, Crafters Paradise, Fine Art & Framing Gallery, FOUND Antiques, H Reitz & Co., Heart to Art Galleria, Jewelry By Design, Marietta Wine Cellars, Monogram Market, My Favorite Things, Parks Gallery & Studios, Porter's Florist, Putnam Chocolates, Rags 2 Riches, Renee's Birkenstock, River City Antique Emporium, Riverside Artists Gallery, Rossi Pasta, Salem Candles, Skyline Cafe, Sorelle of Marietta, Sugden Books, SWAGG, Teri Ann's, Twisted Sisters, Two Peas in a Pod, and Workingman's Store.
Tickets for Moonlight and Chocolate are $15 per person or $25 per couple. Tickets may be purchased in advance at The Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce located in The Riverview Building on Front Street. Tickets also will be available the night of the event at three locations; the Lafayette Hotel located on the corner of Front and Green Streets, ReStore Marietta's office on Putnam Street, and the Riverside Artists Gallery located at 219 Second Street.
Visitors to Riverside Artists Gallery also will be treated to the "BRAzarro Art Project," where artists and community members have embellished bras to create works of art. The "works of art" will be auctioned off on Friday night to raise money for breast cancer. For details visit the gallery's website, www.riversideartistsgallery.com.
Also taking place Friday night is a book signing by the author of a book on Marietta hauntings. The signing will take place at Sugden's on Front Street.
With tickets to the Moonlight and Chocolate event, participants will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win prizes from many downtown merchants and restaurants including: A Unique Flower & Gift Shop, Fine Art and Framing Gallery, Hidden Marietta & Lynne Sturtevant, Marietta Wine Cellars, Old Town Bakery, Rags 2 Riches, and Rossi Pasta.
The evening will culminate with the grand prize drawing of a diamond and chocolate diamond ring valued at over $700 provided by Baker and Baker Jewelers. Baker and Baker located at 105 Putnam Street will feature a collection of chocolate diamonds for the festivities and will have the grand prize on display.
Participants will begin their evening at a welcome reception hosted by the Historic Lafayette Hotel where they will register. Participants can also take advantage of a chocolate martini drink special offered in the hotel's lounge throughout the evening.
New this year, three downtown restaurants, Austyn's, Tampico, and The Levee House will be offering dinner specials in the spirit of the evening exclusively for Moonlight and Chocolate Walk participants.
H. Reitz & Co. will offer gift bags, which will contain items like candles, beads, salsa, gift certificates and more, said Shana Woodford, owner. The business will also offer discounts on select items.
Karen Van Camp, president of The Gallery, on Front Street, which will offer everything in the store for 20 percent off, said business has been brisk each of the last two year's the company's participated.
"It was well received," she said. "We had good crowds and they were here right up until closing. And they were buying, so I think they were Christmas shopping."