HILL CITY, S.D. — Several businesses adorned their storefronts with mouth-watering delicacies for Hill City’s 10th annual Tour de Chocolate on Saturday.
The event is a collaborative effort between several Hill City merchants to celebrate love, gain more foot traffic, and show appreciation.
“This year we have 30 participating businesses that are joining us and giving out free chocolate, and we roll out the red carpet so that they can get a taste of our hospitality and our gratitude and our thanks for their patronage all year long,” said April Purdie, General Manager at Turtletown.
The Alpine Inn had many different types of truffles to give as free samples; store-bought was not an option.
“We have chocolate-covered caramels with cashews and we have three different types of truffles, coconut truffles with pecan nuts, and some have caramel fillings in them – and they’re homemade,” said Debbie Kenaston, a hostess at the Alpine Inn. “We make it here in the restaurant.”
Hill City’s economy is mostly generated through tourism, but with stores that want to remain open all year-round, organizers want to remind residents that before typing in that URL, shop local.
Janet Wetovick-Bily, Director of the Hill City area Chamber of Commerce, said, “Now more than ever it’s so important for our businesses to have that local support. We encourage people to shop local, dine local, and just have a wonderful experience while they’re here – especially after a year of pandemic, people want to get out, they crave connection, they crave being able to see people and shop in person.”
Though frigid temperatures kept some customers from leaving their homes, it didn’t dampen the mood of those who did.
“It’s hard to be down when there’s free chocolate around, so everybody’s been in a very good mood,” said Michael Gallucci, owner of Things that Rock.
Due to the cold, the Polar Bear Chili Cook Off has been postponed to Saturday, February 27.