Vevay continues a year of celebrations for the area's bicentennial with February's First Friday honoring the link between Vevey, Switzerland and Switzerland County, Ind.

The "Chocolate Walk" First Friday highlights pioneer Swiss chocolatiers and the inventions and innovations of the past that helped Switzerland to become known for its chocolate supremacy.

After studying the craft of chocolate making in Italy, Francois-Louis Cailler opened the country's first modern chocolate factory near Vevey, Switzerland, in 1819. Years later, Cailler's son-in-law Daniel Peter, a candle-maker by trade, developed a solid milk chocolate bar with the assistance of his German pharmacist neighbor, Henri Nestle.

The two men formed the Nestle Company, and with global marketing, the two founders helped to spread the Swiss chocolate reputation internationally, a release said.

Vevay First Friday events will honor the history behind chocolate while also honoring the county's ties to Swiss founding ancestors during Switzerland County's Bicentennial celebration this year. This month's events also mark the seventh year of First Friday activities in Vevay, Vevay's Main Street Program Manager Michele Thompson said.

Several businesses plan to join in the "Chocolate Walk" fun with special menu items throughout the event from 6 to 9 p.m. Other groups and organizations plan free giveaways of chocolate chip cookies and other chocolate items.

"It's a wide range of things," Thompson said of the events. "They get into it."

Visitors honoring chocolate in some way - like wearing brown - will receive a ticket from participating First Friday businesses to be entered into a drawing for a pair of tickets to the 2013 Flair for Wine event. The drawing for the contest will take place on or before May 6.

Also during First Friday events, the Switzerland County Tourism's Valentine Card Contest will be on display at the county's visitors center, 128 W. Main St. Valentine cards vary in medium, and residents were encouraged to bring in vintage Valentines for the display. The Valentine Card Contest opening will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Free carriage rides will take place throughout the First Friday events, weather permitting. Organizers ask that visitors board the carriage near the Courthouse.