HANNIBAL — It’s a sweet weekend to celebrate the universal love of chocolate as Hannibal residents and tourists join area businesses for the annual Chocolate Extravaganza.
The event will be three full days, March 11-13, in which participants can enjoy a variety of offers through their Chocolate Passports. From sweets to local treats, it’s a good time to see what downtown Hannibal has to offer – all through the lens of chocolate.
While the Chocolate Extravaganza is a popular time to visit best-loved downtown businesses, it’s also an opportunity to discover new favorites. Several newer businesses are listed on the passport.
One of those is Paddlebox Games located in the Mark Twain Dinette, which opened last spring.
Paddlebox focuses on board games and other hands-on games, such as kid’s games and puzzles or adult games like the popular game of patterns, Azul. For spring to summer, they have outdoor games like Pickleball and cornhole and even pool games.
For the Chocolate Extravaganza they will be offering a variety of games and gifts.
Kenna Bowen, general manager of the Mark Twain Dinette, said the game shop was an idea stemming from her own family’s game night tradition.
“My parents and I play board games together a lot,” she said. “We didn’t have a lot of availability for that in small businesses here, so we just wanted to create our own.”
For other stores, the Chocolate Extravaganza is a great time to give offerings of the hand-crafted items they are known for.
Ava Goldworks will be giving a pair of sterling silver bead earrings and Gallery 310 will be giving out artist created wine glasses or wine charms. The Mark Twain Brewery will be serving up a coffee stout and chocolate brownie.
The Chocolate Extravaganza has become an annual tradition for many. Lauren Smith, of Quincy, gathers her friends for the event every year.
“We look forward to this event every year,” says Lauren Smith of Quincy. “I’ve come with friends and it’s so much fun deciding which chocolate treats to choose.”
Megan Rapp, director of the Hannibal Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the event grows every year.
“It’s great to see husbands and wives, families, and groups of friends getting together to enjoy some treats and spend time together,” said Rapp. “A getaway doesn’t have to be a huge trip; making memories in your own backyard can be just as fun and create just as many great stories to tell everyone — especially those that missed out on the opportunity to enjoy this event!”
Chocolate passports are now available for purchase online at HistoricHannibalmo.com or at Mark Twain They will also be available for purchase downtown during event headquarters at the Mark Twain Museum Gallery, 120 North Main Street in Hannibal.
Some of the stores in the passport include:
• Dutch Country General Store
• Finn’s Food & Spirits
• Hannibal History Museum
• Main Street Wine Stoppe
• Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
• Mark Twain Brewing Company
• Mark Twain Dinette & Paddlebox Games & Gifts
• Mississippi Marketplace
• Native American Trading Co.