Several visitors joined local relatives to share taste treats at the Chocolate Extravaganza in downtown Hannibal on Saturday, March 9, while others are new Hannibalians. However, all appeared to be happy to try the various forms of chocolate served by North Main Street merchants.
As they ate different flavors of gelato at Chocolaterie Stam, Hershel Butler explained his job with U.S. Cellular brought his family from St. Louis to Hannibal in January. His family included daughter Sierra, a high school junior; his wife, Kim; and Kim’s mother, Teresa Holschen.
Hannibal native Lisa Whitaker and Matt Stewart came from Decatur, Ill. “I love all the stores and the friendly people,” she said, as they ate popcorn. She returns to Hannibal “as often as we can” and had enjoyed the chocolate martini from Rumor Has It.
Stewart likes Hannibal’s “small town, friendly atmosphere,” and his favorite treat was raspberry draft beer from Kerley’s, where they ate lunch and Whitaker said Kerley’s seasoned fries “are the best.”
Another couple was Timothy Bremer of Sedalia and Jana Wallace of St. Charles, who was also visiting her Hannibal relatives. As they ate popcorn, both said they especially enjoyed their hand massages at “For the Love of Massage.” They were having dinner at the Labinnah Bistro.
Warm weather helped attract people to this third annual event, sponsored by the Historic Hannibal Marketing Council and the Hannibal Courier-Post.
As they shopped at Picture Perfect Gallery & Framing, Dr. Phillip and Priscilla Foreman were accompanied by their granddaughter, Taylor Arthaud, a high school freshman from the area of Boston, Mass.
A group of Baptist youth participating in Youth Nation included seventh graders Evan Sanders, John Trenhaile and Brandon Johnson of Calvary Baptist Church, and their leader, Mitchell Crane. Evan said they were “finding strangers and talking to them about their beliefs.”
Shopping as they tried chocolate treats, Monroe City natives Kelley Hulse and Tami Lorenson displayed their purchases. Hulse had salsa and sweet potato butter from St. Petersburg Mercantile. Lorenson had a cocktail ring from Miss Trindy’s and also liked her free sunglasses from Danni Nicole’s.
Some families included three generations, such as the Perry family of Hannibal and two cities in Iowa. The youngsters were Isaac, 10 months; Jacob, 2; and Logan, 4. Their parents were Michelle, Tracy and Chris Perry, and they were accompanied by the children’s grandma, Cindy Perry. Logan said he had fun “throwing snow” and eating “lots of chocolate.”
One highlight of the day’s entertainment was a free concert by the Starlifter band at the Mark Twain Museum Gallery. This United States Air Force Band of Mid-America has performed for 6,000 troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the Middle East.
Page 2 of 2 - Another special event coincided with the Chocolate Extravaganza - the Second Saturday celebration at Alliance Gallery, where artist Toto Rendlen explained the gallery is observing its 10th year. A leather bracelet made by jewelry artist (and retired teacher) Mary Jae was won by Ray Brinkley.
For more pictures, see photo gallery.