PAXTON — Alan Meyer, the president of the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, hopes next month’s Fall Wine & Chocolate Walk in Paxton will bring visitors to the Ford County community and its downtown business district.
The chamber-sponsored event — the first of its kind in Paxton — is set for 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at participating businesses in the downtown area. The goal of the event, Meyer said, is to not only bring visitors to the community but also allow them to explore the businesses while there.
“Basically, what we’re trying to do is get people to actually come into the businesses and see them first-hand and meet the owners and the people who work there,” Meyer said.
Adults over age 21 who buy a ticket for $20 will be able to sample a variety of wine and chocolate desserts at the various participating businesses, although some businesses are expected to have non-alcoholic drink samples instead, Meyer said.
At check-in, which runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the chamber’s office at 103 N. Market St., participants will be given a listing of the participating businesses. Adults who show identification confirming they are over age 21 will also receive a wristband allowing them to sample the adult beverages at each stop.
Each time participants stop at a business, the business will sign a form showing the participant visited the business. After all of the businesses have been visited, participants will go back to the chamber’s office downtown and return the form.
Chamber officials will then ask the participants if they made any purchases at any of the businesses and to show receipts if they did. For each $10 spent, they will receive one additional free entry into a raffle that will award a free one-night stay at the Cobblestone Hotel & Suites in Paxton plus a basket full of prizes provided by local merchants. The prize is around a $500 value, Meyer said. Each participant also receives one free entry into the raffle for buying a ticket. The drawing is expected to be held following the conclusion of the event, possibly around 5:30 p.m.
As part of the event, participants will be asked to vote for which business has the best beverage, best dessert and best marketing of their business, Meyer said. Three traveling trophies will be awarded to the top vote-getters.
Meyer said he hopes businesses will use the event to promote sales and offer raffle prizes to the visitors.
Tickets for the event will be limited to 150 and are available for purchase in advance at various locations in Paxton, including the chamber’s office, Mom & Pop’s Kettle Korn Stop and Hudson Drug & Hallmark Shop.
The event will be held rain or shine. Golf carts will be on hand to shuttle participants to the businesses.
Meyer said he hopes to continue the event each year, assuming it is a success.
“My friend has done it in another community and saw it go from 100 tickets (sold in its first year) to 500 tickets being sold just in a few years,” Meyer said.