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Basketball legend Jerry West at Martinsburg's Chocolate Fest and Book Faire

April 25, 2012|By MARIE GILBERT | marieg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — If life is like a box of chocolates, then so is a good book. You never know what you’re going to get.

Maybe it’s a mystery, a biography or a bit of time travel.

And if you can combine those books with a sweet treat, all the better.

Visitors to this weekend’s Book Faire in Martinsburg will be able to indulge in both when the annual literary event joins forces with the town’s first Chocolate Fest.

Activities will begin on Friday, April 27, and continue throughout Saturday, April 28.

Chocolate-themed activities will include “Death by Chocolate” at The Apollo Theatre, chocolate tastings and demonstrations, a chocolate cupcake contest and tours of DeFluri’s Fine Chocolates, located on Queen Street. Roland Mesnier, author of “Dessert University” and “A Sweet World of White House Desserts,” will sign books and do a chocolate demonstration.

And Steve Weiss, director and coordinator of Blue Ridge Community and Technical College’s hospitality and culinary programs, also will do demonstrations.

Admission is $5; free for children 5 years old and younger. The admission fee purchases a green wristband. According to Randy Lewis, Main Street Martinsburg executive director, the wristband entitles the wearer to 18 chocolate tastings, a movie at The Apollo Civic Theatre, the chocolate tour at DeFluri’s, the cupcake contest and Mesnier’s presentation. Lewis said visiting with authors is free.

The event is being coordinated by Main Street Martinsburg and Blue Ridge Community and Technical College. All activities will be held downtown on Queen Street and the nearby area, said Sherri Janelle, director of the Blue Ridge CTC Foundation.

The Book Faire, now in its seventh year, was started by Bill Lucht, a professor at BRCTC, who wanted to encourage reading for all ages, Janelle said. Since that first year, the event has grown.

“He thought it was important to have a healthy, literate society,” she said. “There are usually about 20 to 40 authors each year. Both local and national authors participate.”

This year’s headliner is iconic basketball star and West Virginia native Jerry West, who will speak at a sold-out luncheon and book signing on Saturday at The Shenandoah Hotel.

West will be discussing his book, “West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life,” which was written with Jonathan Coleman. The book looks at the sports star’s abusive childhood and his battles with depression and resentment.

Proceeds from the luncheon, which sold out within 24 hours, will benefit Main Street Martinsburg’s programs and projects and the BRCTC Foundation scholarship fund to help local students.

To accommodate people who were unable to get luncheon tickets, Janelle said an opportunity to meet West and have him sign his book was scheduled from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday at The Shenandoah Hotel. Tickets are $30 and can be secured by contacting Main Street Martinsburg at 304-262-4200 or Janelle at 304-260-4380, ext. 2410, or sjanelle@blueridgectc.edu. Tickets are sold in advance only.

More than a dozen other authors will appear at businesses in downtown Martinsburg, as well as a variety of vendors.

This is the first year, however, that a chocolate chapter has been added to the event.

Janelle said Lucht became aware that Main Street Martinsburg was planning a Chocolate Festival and thought it might be a good idea to join forces.

“He met with Becky Linton, president of City National Bank, who was chairing Main Street Martinsburg’s Chocolate Festival. They both talked and decided it would be a great idea to combine the two events,” Janelle said.


If you go ...       

WHAT: Chocolate Fest and Book Faire

WHEN: Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28.

WHERE: Downtown Martinsburg, W.Va.

COST: Admission is $5 and free for children 5 years old and younger, which gives visitors a green wristband; free to see the authors.

CONTACT: For complete schedule, go to www.mainstreetmartinsburg.com.

MORE: The Jerry West luncheon is sold out. To accommodate people who were unable to get luncheon tickets, there is an opportunity to meet West and have him sign his book from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at The Shenandoah Hotel, 100 W. Martin St., downtown Martinsburg, W.Va. Tickets are $30 and can be secured by contacting Main Street Martinsburg at 304-262-4200 or Janelle at 304-260-4380, ext. 2410, or sjanelle@blueridgectc.edu Tickets are sold in advance only.

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