Wadena's Wine and Chocolate fundraiser to return Feb. 11

It's been four years since the last in-person Wine and Chocolate fundraiser was held at the Depot in Wadena — but it's back! The Feb. 11 event will be bigger and, hopefully, better than ever.

The Depot.jpg
The historic Wadena Depot on Aldrich Avenue will be the setting for this year's Wine and Chocolate fundraiser, which takes place Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, from 6 to 10 p.m. The event has also been expanded this year, to include samplings of beer, spirits and food from local businesses.
Wadena Pioneer Journal file photo

WADENA — Wine and Chocolate is back, baby!

The popular Wadena Chamber of Commerce fundraiser has not been held as an in-person event since 2019. But on Saturday, Feb. 11, the event will be making a comeback — in expanded form.

"Because of COVID, the last in-person event happened in 2019," says chamber Director Dana Cantleberry. "Last year, they just did a virtual Wine and Chocolate, where people could bid on baskets."

But with pandemic restrictions largely a thing of the past, "we're bringing it back — and adding a few new twists," she added. "We wanted to bring in more businesses as part of this event, so it's going to be called 'Wine, Beer, Spirits and Chocolate: A Valentine's Tasting Party.'"

Between 6 and 10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, the Wadena Depot will be filled with tasty treats and alcoholic beverages of every description.


"Attendees can sample a variety of wine from Wadena City Liquor, beers from Drastic Measures Brewery, and spirits such as vodkas and bourbons from Little Round Still," Cantleberry said — along with some non-alcoholic options, such as decaffeinated and regular brews from Owly Coffee.

And then, there's the food. "We have truffles made by a lady from Browerville, who is a chocolatier. Her name is Candace Parrish and we're excited to have her make some truffles for us," said Cantleberry. And as if that wasn't enough, there will also be sweet, decadent treats from Oma's Bakery; a chocolate fountain featuring fresh fruits from Russ Davis Wholesale, along with other goodies; and meat, cheese and cracker trays from Down Home Foods and Super One.

"The idea was to connect all these local businesses for a Valentine-theme tasting event," Cantleberry said. "It's Valentine's Day weekend, so take your sweetheart out to eat in Wadena and stop by for this tasting, either before or after (dinner)."

In between enjoying all these tempting delicacies, from 6 to 9 p.m., attendees will also be able to stroll through a silent auction and bid on dozens of baskets donated by Wadena-area businesses, community groups and individuals.

"Some will have a theme — one of ours has little toy trains and chamber bucks," Cantleberry said. "We're still pulling those (baskets) together."

After the auction has closed and the bids are calculated, the winners will be announced; you do not need to be present to win, she noted.

Tickets for the fundraiser are $30 per person, or $50 per couple, and may be purchased in advance at the chamber office, the Wadena City Library, or from any chamber board member, Cantleberry said. Admission includes two glasses of wine, a homemade truffle, and a sampling of other treats and beverages. Each ticket will also be entered into a drawing for a bouquet of flowers from Northside Floral and Over the Rainbow.

As in years past, proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward expanding Wadena's Christmas decorations and light displays at Burlington Northern Park, which is located near the chamber offices at the historic Wadena Depot .


"Our goal is to add more Christmas spirit in Wadena, as well as to create a month of holiday festivities in December, for shoppers, families, and residents to enjoy," Cantleberry said.

If you go

What: Wine, Beer, Spirits and Chocolate — a Valentine's Tasting Party
Where: Historic BN Depot, 100 Aldrich Ave. SW, Wadena
When: Saturday, Feb. 11, 6 to 10 p.m.
Who: Hosted by the Wadena Chamber of Commerce
How: Tickets are $30 per individual, or $50 per couple, and may be purchased in advance at the chamber office, the Wadena City Library, or from any chamber board member.

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
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