(Feb. 22, 2019) During the 12th annual “Death by Chocolate” game, participants will search for balls pertaining to different sports inside 18 West Ocean City businesses, Saturday, Feb. 23.

Participants who are 18 and older are encouraged to find the sports memorabilia before getting their game cards validated inside each store. The game is free to play.

“The whole concept was to get to know your local merchants,” Jan Patterson, organizer Death by Chocolate, said. “It’s a very big marketing event for the merchants as well as an awareness event for the public to see what the merchants have to offer.”


CraZy LadyZ co-owner Jan Patterson and her dog, the store greeter, Marco, spend the weekend before Death by Chocolate dipping Scooby Snacks in chocolate in preparation of the West Ocean City game event.

A complimentary chocolate treat will be provided by each merchant and players who finish the game will have a chance to take home a prize, ranging from gift certificates to an Amazon Echo Dot to a diamond necklace and a spa package.

A majority of the businesses have participated in Death by Chocolate since its inception, but there are some new stores joining in the fun this year.

“The game pulls you through merchants that maybe you might not have gone into. If you don’t eat organic you would never go into an organic market, but I’ll tell you what, when you walk into the organic market you’re going to go, ‘Oh my gosh, they carry food, wine and organic chocolate,’” Patterson said.

To play Death by Chocolate, pick up a game card at any of the 18 participating stores. To be eligible for prizes, players must visit all of the merchants, in any order, and find a specific ball, while indulging in complimentary chocolate. Game cards must be validated by a representative from each store before going on to the next one.

This year’s theme is “How Well Do You Know Your Balls,” where participants will have to hunt down a specific ball in each store.

“Some thinking has to take place,” Patterson said. “There might be a ‘B’ at CraZy LadyZ. It could be a baseball, basketball, etc., so we give them a little bit of help. Once they find the ball, they get their game card validated by the merchant and then they move on unless they want to shop.”

The stores will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and participants must bring their completed cards to Sunset Grille, on Sunset Avenue in West Ocean City, by 6 p.m. for a chance to win prizes.

Everyone who turns in a completed card has a chance to win one of the 18 prizes at Sunset Grille’s 7 p.m. drawing. Players do not need to be present to win. Winners will be notified on Monday, Feb. 25.

Sunset Grille will host a huge post-game party, where drink specials will start at 1 p.m. and include $4 house wine, $2.50 domestic beer, $5 orange crushes and $5 chocolate martinis.

In addition, buy one entrée and appetizer, get a second entrée free from 4-7 p.m. To get this dinner deal, participants must make a reservation under “Death by Chocolate.”

Carrabba’s Italian Grill will also offer lunch specials from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, and players will receive a 20 percent discount if they present their game card. 

“We are expecting a bang-up year this year,” Patterson said.

The event grows annually with 40 people participating the first year and about 750 playing in 2018.

“I love the energy,” Patterson said. “I love meeting the people. They come back in the summer and say, ‘Oh, we couldn’t wait to come back here, we played Death by Chocolate. There were too many people to shop, or thank God my husband’s not here, I can spend time shopping here.’ I enjoy that and I really, really enjoy the camaraderie among all the merchants on this day. It’s just a great day.”

Death by Chocolate starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and continues until 5 p.m. followed by a celebration at Sunset Grille.

Call 410-213-8110 to make dinner reservations at Sunset Grille. For more information about the game, call 410-213-2085.

Participating merchants

CraZy LadyZ! - $50 gift certificate

Monkey’s Trunk - $50 gift certificate

OC Floor Gallery - $250 gift certificate

OC Chamber of Commerce - Beach tote and OC SWAG valued at $75

IMPACT Home Technology - Amazon Echo Dot valued at $30-50

OC Organics - gift basket, food and products

Coastal Coffee Roasting - gift basket valued at $50

Wockenfuss - $50 gift certificate

Park Place Jewelers - Sterling silver diamond heart necklace valued at $150

Ocean Elements Salt Spa & Float Center - Float and Salt room combo experience valued at $79

Bomshell Boutique - $25 gift certificate and a pair of earrings

Blushing Beauty Boutique - beach bag and matching hat

Sunset Grille - $50 gift certificate

Kendall Furniture - $100 gift certificate

Dolle’s Candyland - Gift basket valued at $50

Sandal’s Bridal and Formal Wear - $50 gift certificate

Sisters Sundries - $50 gift certificate

Monkey’s Trunk - $50 gift certificate

Carrabba’s Italian Grill - $50 gift certificate and wine pairing dinner for two

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