Chocolate Walk to feature Story Slams

In addition to the rich flavor derived from the delectable cocoa bean, this year’s Coupeville Chocolate Walk will also feature a sweet treat for the ears.

Visitors on the journey through 22 participating businesses in Central Whidbey’s historic town will have the opportunity to warm up at Pacific NorthWest Art School with hot chocolate and to participate in or watch “Story Slams.”

The open mic storytelling competition will focus on the seasonally appropriate topic, love. The slam will begin at 3:30 p.m, Feb. 8 and is free to watch and costs $15 to participate in. Registration will be at the door and fees go toward the nonprofit art school.

Storytellers will have five minutes to spin a yarn about love, which can be interpreted broadly, according to Nora Durand, who came up with the idea for the event. The Coupeville resident hails from Kentucky and had frequented storytelling festivals there growing up.

She’d recently been troubled by divisions she saw among others in the community regarding issues such as jet noise, she said.

She approached the art school’s director Lisa Bernhardt with the idea and so the Chocolate Walk’s first Story Slam came to be.

There will be three age categories for storytellers between 8 and 12 years old, 13 to 17, young adults 17 to 21 and adults, Durand said. Each division’s winners, chosen by the audience, will receive a prize.

Durand had been involved in previous Chocolate Walks when she was working at the Whidbey News-Times, which co-sponsors the event each year with the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce.

Tickets are $25 and available on the chamber’s website; the event often sells out.

Those who managed to get a golden ticket will begin at Chocolate Central, open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Coupeville Rec Hall. Hot cocoa will be served as walkers pick up a map and goody bag.

Businesses have obtained fine delicacies from local chocolatiers or made the treats themselves.

For Durand, her love of dark chocolate will play a role in her example story for the Story Slam. She’ll focus on the Sanskrit word for heart chakra, she said, which is yam, often pronounced yum.