Chocolate and ice are all the rage in Salem beginning Friday

SALEM ? The Witch City is turning its attention to sweet treats just in time for Valentine’s Day.Salem Main Streets, the Salem Chamber of Commerce and local retailers, will host the 6th annual Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival ? a decadent tradition of delectable chocolate and sparkling ice sculptures, beginning Friday and running through Valentine’s Day.Salem Main Street Manager Jennifer Bell said the event has something for everyone.?Come to enjoy the brilliant sculptures in downtown Salem and stay to shop and dine,” she said. “It is an event for the whole family to enjoy.”The festival kicks off with a Chocolate and Wine Tasting event, on Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Hamilton Hall. This luscious tasting event includes wine, chocolate and coffee samplings from Captain Dusty’s, Capt.’s Waterfront Grill, Coffee Time Bake Shop, FINZ, Seafood & Grill, Harbor Sweets, Maria’s Sweet Somethings, Nathaniel’s, New Civilitea, Pamplemousse, Rockafellas, Rose Medallion, Salem Wine Imports, Salem Waterfront Hotel, Sophie’s Sweet Shop, Strega Restaurant & Lounge, Victoria Station and Ye Olde Pepper Co.Samples include unusual chocolate items including New Civilitea’s unique chocolate teas as well as Captain Dusty’s ice cream.Tickets for the tasting event are $20 and can be purchased in advance at the Salem Chamber of Commerce, 265 Essex St., or at the door on the night of the event.With the exception of the chocolate and wine tasting, the festival is free and one highlight of the festival is sure to be the magical ice sculptures by Ice Effects, which is best known for its “First Night” ice sculptures.Fifteen ice sculptures will be on display (weather permitting) throughout downtown Salem, including an impressive witch sculpture at the Salem Witch Museum and a sculpture of a child reading a book in front of Cornerstone Books. Free maps showing the location of the ice sculptures are available throughout downtown Salem and Pickering Wharf at participating businesses.Approximately 40 businesses are offering in-store promotions and specials throughout the event in celebration of the chocolate weekend. Many of Salem’s finest restaurants will feature special chocolate offerings on their menus, including desserts, cocktails, and inventive sauces. Participating Salem retailers will offer in-store promotions, innovative displays and items geared toward chocolate and Valentine’s Day. Many stores will offer free chocolate samples to shoppers. This year, collect free the Salem’s So Sweet Golden Ticket as part of the festival. Visit 10 participating businesses, have your ticket validated and enter your Golden Ticket in the raffle to win a Salem’s So Sweet gift basket. Items in the So Sweet raffle include Sophia perfume from Sophia’s, a martini clock from Wicked Goodz, and a Syndey Love handbag from Signatures.On Saturday, February 9 the Red Cross will hold the annual “Give From the Heart” Blood Drive along with the Salem Park and Recreation Department in Old Town Hall from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Body & Soul Massage and Wellness Center will be on hand to offer free chair massages for blood donors.Additional information is available by calling 978-744-0004 or online at www.salem-chamber.org.

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