HANNIBAL, Mo. -- This weekend's going to be sweet.
The eighth annual Chocolate Extravaganza, put on by the Historic Hannibal Marketing Council, returns Saturday in downtown Hannibal. People can indulge in chocolatey goodness, sweet deals and fun activities during this day of decadence.
"This is going to be our biggest Chocolate Extravaganza yet, but then again, each year it gets bigger," said Dena Ellis with the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum. "We increased this year the number of passports available, and we've already sold at least 600."
A passport is necessary to participate in the event.
Standard passports have five tickets that are redeemable for gifts from downtown merchants during the festival. New this year for an additional cost are passports with 10 or 20 tickets. More than 20 businesses are offering items in exchange for tickets, and items include chocolate beverages, chocolate desserts, jewelry, a chocolate bath bomb, candle votive, chocolate paraffin dip and hand massage. Passports also will include coupons and discounts.
"We're not sold out of passports yet, but we have sold out the past three years," Ellis said.
The Chocolate Extravaganza also will feature live music, a "Lost Boys" book signing by author John Wingate, a gallery art walk, make-and-take classes and chocolate demonstrations.
This year the Mark Twain Museum is not continuing its "Willy Wonka" activities, but children can attend the nearby Bounce Fest II at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center. Admission is $5.
"We've all spent winter cooped up inside, and this first festival of the year is a great way to get outside, enjoy downtown Hannibal, and have a lot of fun," Ellis said.
To buy passports or for more information, visit HistoricHannibalMO.com/chocolate-extravaganza-home, or call 573-221-9010, ext. 401. Passports purchased online will be available for pickup from 9 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Mark Twain Museum gallery, 120 N. Main St.