People want their chocolate come rain or shine as the crowds in historic downtown Jonesborough proved last Saturday.

The Jonesborough Area Merchants and Service Association hosted its third annual Chocolate Fest on Feb. 10, just in time for Valentine’s Day this week. Attendees could pre-purchase tickets in sets of 10 or 15, then take to balloon-decorated Main Street between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to redeem each ticket for a sweet treat.

Despite the chill and threat of rain, people came out in droves to visit each of over 25 different locations offering chocolates of every variety. Jan Browning, whose shop “Hands Around the World” has participated the past two years, said the number of people even early in the day rivaled the busy levels she normally sees in the summer.

“January and February are hard months for the merchants [in Jonesborough],” Browning said, “so it’s really a great activity to jumpstart and get back in the swing.”

Businesses, restaurants and historic sites like the Chester Inn Museum all had stations where attendees lined up out the doors to get their chocolate treats. Some places were so busy that there was hardly room to move. You could find standard fare like brownies and fudge, while other places offered chocolate-dipped gummy bears or peppermint drinking chocolate. Browning had made chocolate-covered potato chips to dole out in her store.

“In the past I ordered things like chocolate-covered almonds, but this year everybody is doing handmade treats,” Browning said.

Browning dipped her chips herself, while other sweets were donated. Gracie Blackburn, a senior at Sullivan South High School, was at the Lollipop Shop to pass out creations made by her school’s culinary program. Nothing was store-bought, though, as decided by the JAMSA for this year’s event.

Next time you’re looking to drum up some business, try chocolate. It certainly seemed to work for Jonesborough.