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Guests invited to ‘Indulge in Berlin’ during art stroll

(Feb. 5, 2015) Not to be confused with West Ocean City’s famous “Death by Chocolate” scavenger hunt, the shops and restaurants in Berlin are teaming up for a pre-Valentine’s Day event that includes a number of sales and free samples in a collaborative effort.
The first “Indulge in Berlin” coincides with the 2nd Friday art stroll from 5-8 p.m. on Feb. 13.  
“It’s not going to be a scavenger hunt at all, it’s going to be a great pre-Valentine date night that most of the merchants are participating in,” Baked Desserts owner Robin Tomaselli said.
Baked Desserts, for example, will have samples at Bruder Hill on 25 Commerce Street, Blacksmith will be at Bungalow Love at 12 Williams Street and The Globe will send samples to Ta Da at 18 North Main Street.
 “Most of the stores are doing big-time sales, so it’s not only sweet stuff, it’s savory stuff, it’s sweet discounts on stuff,” Tomaselli said. “It should be a fun night to be in town and just kind of meander around.”
Guests can grab a map of participating locations at the Welcome Center on 14 South Main Street and register for the chance to win a “Love Berlin” basket.
“If they get each of the places that are participating checked off, they can bring that map back and enter to win the basket, which includes hotel stays and all kinds of romantic items,” Tomaselli said.
Organizers hatched the event to spur interest in the art stroll during the usually quiet winter months.
“Initially, we weren’t really going to do much for February,” Tomaselli said. “We were going to kind of lay low because, in general, it’s not a really well-attended event.
“We discussed the idea of doing a ‘Death by Chocolate’ kind of thing, but none of us liked the idea of doing a scavenger hunt,” Tomaselli continued. “It doesn’t encourage anybody to see what your store is about or it doesn’t encourage them to linger. It just encourages them to run and grab a clue and leave.”
When a few restaurants expressed concern about participating on the Friday before Valentine’s Day, organizers came up with the idea to collaborate with shops to host sample tastings.
In turn, several restaurants will place coupons at shops to drive dinner traffic through their doors.
“Cross-promoting is critical for all of us,” Tomaselli said. “I think that’s what really separates Berlin from a lot of places.
“The vast majority of businesses in Berlin understand the basic principal ‘what is good for one of us is good for all of us,’” Tomaselli continued. “If somebody comes to the Atlantic Hotel but doesn’t necessarily visit Baked on the same day, once you come to Berlin … you’ll come back, and maybe the next time you come back you’ll come to Baked.”
Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells called the event “the perfect date night.”
“If someone hasn’t tried all the restaurants, they’ll be able to get a taste of what each restaurant offers,” she said. “It’s very coordinated, and the majority of the businesses are participating.”
“Indulge in Berlin” should also be attractive to those on a budget.
“It’s a totally free evening,” Tomaselli said. “We hope it just creates a really nice, free, interesting art stroll for February.”