Live for Chocolate draws a big crowd downtown

By Lynn R. Parks

Downtown Seaford and Blades was a sea of pink Friday evening, as it celebrated Live for Chocolate, sponsored by the city, Nanticoke Health Services and the chamber of commerce to promote awareness of womens health and breast cancer prevention.

Women, and some men, wore pink T-shirts. Pink table cloths, curtains and bows decorated the council chambers in city hall. Pink balloons lined High Street.

Nanticoke volunteers handed out small pink shopping bags filled with coupons and small gifts. And Mia Baker, a volunteer with LaRed Health Center on High Street in Seaford, was dressed as a gray elephant wearing a pink tutu. I just want to make people smile, Baker said.

The downtowns were also uncharacteristically busy Friday evening, with people crowding into shops to sample chocolate treats and to participate in a scavenger hunt.

This is great for the gallery, great for downtown and great for womens health, said Chris Darby with Gallery 107 at the corner of Pine and High streets. She spoke while taking a break from pouring out small tastes of chocolate wine.

Darby said that she wouldnt be surprised if Live for Chocolate drew people into downtown who arent frequent visitors. We may even see people in here whove never visited the gallery before, she said. That could pique their interest so that they want to return, she added.

Randy Towers was just one such person. Attending Live for Chocolate with his wife, Phyllis, he said that downtown Seaford was new territory for him. Im curious to see whats here, he said. Once I find out, it could very well be that I want to come back.

Deborah Mitchell has had TravelDebi at 413 High St. since 2008. (Prior to that, she operated Ambassador Travel in Seaford for nearly 30 years.) She said that Live for Chocolate was a great venue for meeting potential customers in an informal setting.

This is a great way to talk casually with people who dont usually come in, she said. And the evening wasnt all just talk. Several people took with them brochures and information cards, Mitchell said; others made appointments to come back to talk about travel planning.

Getting more people downtown was one of the goals of Live for Chocolate, said Lynn Brocato, director of the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce. She estimates that about 375 people attended the event, up from about 250 who attended its predecessor, Girls Night Out, held last spring at Nanticokes Mears Campus in Seaford. We didnt know what to expect, but I think that we had a tremendous turnout, she said.

Another goal was to encourage organizations and businesses to work together to sponsor more downtown events. Id love to see more collaboration, to do something like this on a regular basis, she said.

Sixteen businesses participated in the scavenger hunt. People who got stamps from all of the businesses qualified for drawings for prizes at the end of the evening.

In addition, 17 vendors set up tables in locations throughout town. Nanticoke Health Services handed out information about womens health and breast cancer and also sponsored a cake walk. The 29 cakes that were handed out to winners of the musical chairs-type game were baked by Nanticoke employees. Ruth Sneller, one of the first winners, chose a banana cake with cream cheese icing. Phyllis Towers, Randys wife, walked away with an apple cake.

For the males in the group, Dicks Barbershop hosted a Man Cave, complete with beer  16 Miles Tiller Brown Ale  and chicken wings. Newly elected city councilman William Mulvaney was among the men who shared conversation in the barbershop while their wives enjoyed Live for Chocolate.

Its nice to see so many people downtown, Mulvaney said. This is a really cool event.

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