WARREN - Downtown Warren bustled Saturday with people carrying paper bags filled with candy and green tickets marked by local business owners.
About 200 people participated in the St. Patrick's Day Chocolate Walk, in which 15 downtown business gave out candy to visitors.
Many of the businesses also showcased other talents and treats, such as live Irish music, Irish step dancing shows, Irish cuisine and even an Irish Prince and Princess children's pageant.
Three-year-old Jia Lyn Daseul Allen is new Irish Princess of Warren
Those who turned in their green slip with signatures from every business participating on the walk were entered to win prizes.
Christine Quarrick of Vienna and Brigette Medovic of Howland didn't quite make it all 15 stops, but they did discover a new a business that Quarrick said she fell in love with.
"It's been fun to have something to do downtown, especially because nothing really goes on here," she said. "I found a nice business that I didn't know about - the Gifts From the Cottage Store. I'm going to go back and buy (something). But the chocolate is my favorite part."
Three-year-old Jia Lyn Daseul Allen is
interviewed by hostess Jennifer Campbell during her portion of the Saturday inaugural Warren Irish Prince and Princess Pageant at the Trumbull Art Gallery. Jia, and her brother, Brenden Allen, were crowned princess and prince of the show. The pageant was part of the Shamrock Chocolate Walk in downtown Warren.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Adam Ferrise
The duo also stopped in to shop for graphic novels at the All-American Cards & Comics shop on East Market Street.
Business owners, too were pleased with the event. Several owners said they saw a spike in business compared with previous Saturdays, and several businesses put on other special events to attract more customers.
"It's been pretty good," said Greg Bartholomew, the owner of the All American Cards & Comics and a member of the promotions counsel. "We've had two other events today, and we've been busy all day. We had good weather today, which helped, too. I haven't seen anyone come in complaining about being cold. It's definitely seems like another success."
Jim Economos, the owner of Saratoga, opened the restaurant Saturday especially for the walk. The restaurant is normally closed Saturdays, but Economos hired an Irish band, Rogues of Rafferty, to play Irish music in the restaurant.
"We had a nice number of customers come in, plus the people that come in for the chocolate treat and the entertainment," he said.
Entertainment included students from Burke School of Irish Dance, the bagpipe band Celtic Fire and the Irish rock band Tara's Fire.
Other attractions included an Irish marketplace, an Irish historical display and Irish storytelling inside the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library Bookmobile.
The Horseshoe Bar hosted an Irish beer tasting into the evening, and several of the downtown restaurants served Irish specials on the menu.
The night wrapped up at the Trumbull Art Gallery for the Irish Prince and Princess Pageant, judged in part by Mayor Michael J. O'Brien.
Taking home top honors were brother and sister Brenden and Kia Lyn Daseul Allen.
"It's great to get the downtown businesses involved with the community," O'Brien said. "We hope to get more involvement with all the businesses in the future. It's all about community pride and celebrating each and every day."
Jennifer Campbell, the event's coordinator and the pageant host, said the Chocolate Walk was a success.
"We had tremendous success and were fortunate the weather cleared up and we had some many people come out," Campbell said. "We're ecstatic with the turnout and hope it will grow for next year."