Third Mrs. Claus Coffee Crawl mixes history, treats and literacy

Springfield’s Warder Literacy Center benefits from funds raised.

It may be cold outside, but downtown Springfield will offer the chance to warm up with a cup of joe and some tasty treats, all while taking in a bit of local history.

The Warder Literacy Center will host its third annual Mrs. Claus’ Coffee Crawl on Saturday.

Mrs. Claus’ Coffee Crawl is a unique event created to raise funds for the programs of the Warder Literacy Center. Local coffee roasters and bakers set up in historic venues to allow participants to sample their wares.

Coffee Crawl participants can learn about the historic locations, purchase special Christmas offerings, and enjoy the lights and displays of Springfield’s Holiday in the City.

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David Smiddy, executive director, said 100 percent of the proceeds from the event benefit the Warder Literacy Center.

“Warder Center has been teaching English as a Second Language for over 25 years,” said Smiddy. “Right now, our biggest need is to raise funds to hire a new staff member to handle the huge number of Haitians who are coming to us to learn English for work, for driving in the area, and for many of the other important areas in their lives.”

Smiddy said the coffee crawl is a self-guided tour, and organizers are prepared for up to 300 participants.

“The idea is to pick up your map, mug and identifying bracelet from the Warder Center,” he said. “Participants can start when they want and go in the order they choose.”

Each location will feature a coffee vendor, a treat vendor, and a docent ready to explain the significance of the site and answer any questions.

“The bracelet is the key to getting the free samples from the vendors,” said Smiddy. “The time range for the event is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and all the locations are within walking distance.”

The Coffee Crawl tour includes the Warder Literacy Center (the old Warder Public Library), Shawnee Place (originally a world-class hotel), the Bushnell Building, the Clark County Heritage Center, Duo Home, the Springfield Burying Ground, and the State Theater.

“It is more of an experience than a tour,” said Smiddy. “It can be as short or as long as you want within that time period. It is a perfect opportunity to spend a relaxing time with family or friends. Participants can take their time, check out other holiday events and decorations, and learn some cool facts. Or, just come for the chance to walk around and try out some coffee and treats.”

Participating local businesses include Un Mundo Cafe, Coffee Expressions Shop Coffee and Bakery, Hemisphere Coffee Roasters, New Standard Roasters, Anky’s Sweet Treats, Kerry’s Cafe, Linardos Villa, Kahawa House, Oats and Dough, and Mrs. Claus’ Cookie Shop.

Smiddy said he had enjoyed attending the Columbus Coffee Fest at Ohio Village for the last several years, hence the idea for a coffee crawl in Clark County was born.

“Springfield has been blessed with some fantastic history and architecture because of its importance during the industrial revolution,” he said. “Entertainers, musicians, sports stars, inventors, companies — people would be surprised who and what was born in and developed in Springfield; plus, so many great coffee and treat shops are in the area. I wanted to bring all this together for a memorable experience that would also help raise funds for Warder Literacy Center.”

Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite for $30 a ticket (including the processing fee) by searching: Mrs. Claus’ Coffee Crawl in Springfield, Ohio. Tickets are also available for purchase with cash or check at the Warder Literacy Center, 137 E. High St.

Mrs. Claus’ Coffee Crawl will begin at 10 a.m. at the Warder Literacy Center. Parking is available at the Clark State College Brinkman Center, St. Raphael Catholic Church, or along High Street.

The Warder Literacy Center is the physical location of Clark County Literacy Coalition. The organization exists to raise the basic literacy levels of the people in Clark County and the surrounding areas. Its programs include Adult Basic Literacy Education, English Speakers of Other Languages, Teaching Children to Read, and Volunteer Tutor Training.

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