By Katie Lovett
---- — Chocolate lovers rejoice — it’s time once again for an afternoon full of the delicious treat.
The 10th annual Newburyport Chocolate Tour will run from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Chocolate fans can visit more than 20 businesses in downtown Newburyport and the Tannery Marketplace and receive some type of chocolate, from candy and ice cream to brownies, cookies or perhaps even a chocolate drink.
The popular fundraiser, which is traditionally held close to Mother’s Day for families seeking an afternoon outing with Mom prior to the holiday, used to be sponsored by the American Red Cross. When the organization opted not to host it this year, Central Congregational Church adopted it.
Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit three local organizations that the church strives to help — the Kelleher playground in Newburyport, Council on Aging prescription refill programs in Amesbury, Salisbury and Newburyport, and the American Red Cross. Proceeds will be divided equally among the three.
The three programs “run the gamut” in the community, from young families to senior citizens, said Diane Hawkins-Clark, one of the tour’s organizers.
Tour-goers can begin their walk by checking in at an information table outside the First Religious Society on Pleasant Street. Each person will receive a goody bag to store treats they want to enjoy later.
Hawkins-Clark, who has volunteered at the tour in past years, said the fundraiser is a popular draw each spring.
“It’s very light-hearted,” she said. “It’s fun; it’s like a spring trick or treating.”
“Almost everybody loves chocolate,” said Suzanne Cap, a fellow organizer. “And it’s for a great cause.”
The following businesses are participating this year: Sisters We Three, Greta’s Great Grains, Richdale’s, Gram’s Ice Cream, Valerie’s Gallery, SOAK, Body Sense, Starbucks, Winfrey’s, Buttermilk Baking Co., Zac and Ani’s Bread, Essencia Beauty Lounge, Chameleon, Revitalive Café, Wish Basket, Pottery Isle, Chococoa Baking Co., Black Duck Market and Deli, Eat Cake!, Nazarian Jewelers, Dolce Freddo Gelato and A Shore Thing.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at Central Congregational Church, 14 Titcomb St., or by calling the church at 978-465-0533, or at the First Religious Society on the day of the tour. Advance purchase is encouraged, as there are a limited amount of tickets that will be sold.