Chocolate extravaganza planned as tribute to Waynesboro candy shop owner

February 21, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The second annual Chocolate Extravaganza in downtown Waynesboro is being planned as a tribute to Despina Leos, who greeted customers at the Candy Kitchen on Center Square for several decades before her death in late 2007.

Leos served chocolate for two hours at the first Chocolate Extravaganza last year at Susquehanna Bank. Chocolates, desserts, champagne and conversation filled the bank's lobby during the fundraiser for Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc.

Her son, John, plans to display photos and make a speech about his mother's love.

"Despina Leos was the sweetest love of my life. ... She is now my spiritual angel guiding me. Love is unconditional, and it's when two souls touch each other," he said.

As word began to spread of Despina Leos' passing in her native Greece, John Leos said he started receiving letters and condolences from all over the United States as well as a local outpouring of support.


"She touched a lot of people in the Waynesboro, Hagerstown and Frederick areas," Leos said.

"She was here last year and loved the Chocolate Extravaganza and was really excited to see everyone," said Carole Malin, manager of Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc.

This year's event benefiting Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on downtown revitalization, will run from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 29, in the lobby of Susquehanna Bank.

"We're having a Celtic harpist whose name is Anita Smith," Malin said.

She said desserts will be provided by the Candy Kitchen, the 1912 Hoover House, The Lodge at Blue Ridge Summit, Burgundy Lane Bed and Breakfast, TranquiliTEA and Zoe's Chocolates. Adventures in Coffee, which opens Friday on East Main Street, will provide java, she said.

In addition to the planned door prizes, Malin said a raffle will be held with the winner receiving a gift card from the Candy Kitchen.

"The proceeds from the raffle will be shared between Mainstreet, Waynesboro Area Human Services and Waynesboro Welfare Association in memory of Despina Leos," Malin said.

The event raised approximately $3,400 for Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc. in its inaugural year, Malin said. Two hundred tickets are available at $25 each and can be purchased at the Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc. offices, the 1912 Hoover House, Waynesboro's First National Bank of Greencastle, and the Candy Kitchen, she said.

Malin described the Chocolate Extravaganza as "black tie welcomed."

She said she has received good feedback about last year's event as people buy their tickets for the 2008 venture.

One woman's "comment to me was, 'I'm so glad you're doing this downtown again. It was the nicest thing downtown,'" Malin said, adding that Chocolate Extravaganza was her personal favorite event hosted by Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc.

"I thought it was elegant, and there was an excitement, it seemed to me, an excitement in the air to be doing something like this in the downtown," Malin said.

"Many people said to me that it was a real boon to Main Street and for Mainstreet as an organization to pull something like that off."

If you go ...

What: Chocolate Extravaganza

Where: Susquehanna Bank on Center Square, Waynesboro, Pa.

When: 7 to 9 p.m., Saturday, March 29

ยท For more information, call Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc. at 717-762-0397.

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