The fourth annual Nisswa Chocolate Walk overcame several hurdles to sell out and raise money for Nisswa Elementary School to implement a backyard garden project and the Outreach Program of Brainerd Lakes humanitarian food aid organization.

Katie Stumvoll, owner of Wildflower Chocolate, located on Hazelwood Drive in Nisswa, spearheaded the event this year. She and three other business owners contributed homemade chocolates to the cause, selling 250 boxes, each filled with 10 decadent chocolate items. Petals and Beans in Nisswa contributed sunflower seeds to plant.

Other participants were Deb Cruz, Adirondack Coffee in downtown Nisswa; Marie Kirsch, Knotty Pine Bakery in downtown Brainerd; and Daniela Sutin, Sweet Life Bakery in Pequot Lakes.

Early bird tickets were $25; regular tickets were $30.

Usually, participants travel to different downtown Nisswa businesses to pick up their chocolates. Because of COVID-19 and stay-home orders, instead those who bought tickets had their boxes of chocolates delivered to their cars outside the Outreach Program/Wildflower Chocolate building on Hazelwood Drive in Nisswa on Saturday, May 9 - during a late-season snowfall.

Stumvoll said she decided to revive the event after it was in danger of not happening.

“The objective is to draw traffic into Nisswa during a slower season. Downtown businesses still wanted it and there was a strong following of participants,” Stumvoll said, noting the first wave of tickets sold quickly. “There’s the demand and the want from the business community.”

As owner of an artisan chocolate business, Stumvoll felt a sense of duty to make the event happen. She specified that contributions had to be handmade, and a core group of women came forward to participate.

Despite the change in delivery because of COVID-19 ramifications, and despite the cold and snow, people collected their chocolates, and quite a few downtown Nisswa businesses were open with their wares being sold outside on the sidewalks.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.