Nora Durand, left, and Pacific NorthWest Art School Director Lisa Bernhardt are planning Story Slams, a competitive storytelling event, during this year’s Chocolate Walk. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Nora Durand, left, and Pacific NorthWest Art School Director Lisa Bernhardt are planning Story Slams, a competitive storytelling event, during this year’s Chocolate Walk. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Chocolate Walk to feature storytelling competition

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.

“I thought why not do an event where people can come and tell a story,” she said, “so we can open up and get to know people.”

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 different age categories for storyteller, Durand said, and division’s winner, chosen by the audience, will receive a prize.

Lavender Wind will hand out hand-made chocolate walnut bites at this year’s Coupeville Chocolate Walk. Photo provided

Lavender Wind will hand out hand-made chocolate walnut bites at this year’s Coupeville Chocolate Walk. Photo provided

To those participating, Durand recommends using humor, descriptive language and tempo to draw audiences in and keep them engaged. Notes are not allowed.

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.

“It’s a lot of fun for the people buying tickets to come and enjoy Coupeville,” Chamber Director Lynda Eccles said.

Businesses have obtained fine delicacies from local chocolatiers or made the treats themselves, such as chocolate walnut bites from Lavender Wind, infused with the shop’s signature herb.

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.

More in Life

Members of the public and Whidbey Island Rocks are encouraged to paint and hide stones with Garry oak designs or other local flora and fauna this week in preparation for a hunt Saturday. Photo by Jane Geddes
Island rock hunt celebrates Oak Harbor ‘Year of the Oak’

Whidbey Island Rocks is encouraging people to paint stones with Garry oaks before a hunt Saturday.

Photo provided
The Deception Pass Sail and Power Squadron, also known as America’s Boating Club of Deception Pass, hosts jamborees and other social events, along with boater safety and education classes.
Whidbey boaters promote safety, education

The Deception Pass Sail and Power Squadron hosts education and safety classes, and social events.

Michael Nichols, owner of Whidbey Green Goods, stands in his hoop house, also known as “The Hovel.” Customers visit the Clinton farm to pick up their own produce and plant starts. (Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group)
One-man Whidbey Island farm gears up for spring

The pandemic has brought a longtime farmer out of retirement.

Master Gardener Don Krafft gathers some broccoli in his garden plot at South Whidbey Tilth. He grows several things that are available for purchase at the Island County Master Gardener online plant sale. (Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record)
Master Gardeners kick off plant sale, continue clincs

Green thumbs who have had a taste of spring sunshine and want to begin planting can do so with the help of the Island County Master Gardeners.

Photo provided
Stella Rowan, left, Savannah Mounce and Luna Grove, right, get together for swims and photoshoots like this one at Deception Pass State Park. The trio of two mermaids and a self-described “heavy metal selkie” call themselves the Whidbey Island Sirens.
Whidbey Island Sirens making quite a splash

The trio will be at Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor this Saturday.

Frances Schultz, holding a picture of her younger self, recently turned 100 years old. Her daughter, Connie Van Dyke, right, said her mother’s photo looks like one of actress Barbara Stanwyck. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
At 100, Oak Harbor woman reflects on busy life

Frances Schultz turned 100 years old on March 30.

Joel Atienza’s uniform’s USAF/USSF patches prior to transfer. Photo provided
Oak Harbor 2010 grad selected for U.S. Space Force

Joel Atienza’s advice to Space Force hopefuls? “Remember, ‘The sky is not the limit.’”

The Oystercatcher’s owner and chef, Tyler Hansen, prepares a dozen 3 Sisters beef bolognese lasagnas to go on the shelves at 3 Sisters Market. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Chef liaises with other business owners

A Coupeville chef has expanded his partnership with local business owners to… Continue reading

Joe Gunn holding a freshly backed rhubarb pie. (Photo by Harry Anderson)
How a pie on the Rock became a brand and legend

Whidbey Pies is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.

Color Guard Capt. Mike Hutchins, at left, and John Kraft present the Sons of the American Revolution Bronze Good Citizenship Medal to Bobbi Lornson, center. (Photo by Teresa Addison)
Oak Harbor woman awarded ‘Good Citizenship’ medal

Bobbi Lornson, past president of the Oak Harbor Lions Club president and volunteer, was recently recognized for her contributions to the community.

Tim Leonard, owner of the Machine Shop in Langley, hangs a purple neon star he made on the wall of his arcade. Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
Neon art show colorizes Machine Shop’s reopening

A cacophony of happy buzzers and bells and a riot of glowing… Continue reading

Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
Third grader Laszlo McDowell gets up close and personal with a gray whale skull.
Students learn about being ‘whale-wise’

South Whidbey Elementary School students got a taste of what it would be like to live as gray whales.