STEVENSVILLE - The 23rd annual Chocolate and Authors event happens 4 to 8 p.m. today, March 2, thanks to the Friends of the North Valley Public Library.
Diane Griffin, president of Friends of the NVPL, said the event is a great opportunity to get more involved with the library.
“We have 26 local authors who have committed to attend, which is a record high for us,” Griffin said. “The Chocolate and Authors event is an opportunity to visit with local authors and purchase a book signed by them.”
New at the event this year is a children’s program the Friends of the Library have added with crafts and games in the community room.
“We haven’t had one in the past but added it so younger families can come and bring their kids,” Griffin said. “There will be something for the kids to do so they won’t be bored hanging out while their parents visit with local authors.”
While delicious chocolate is a big draw, the menu also includes healthy choices including cheeses, meats, veggies and crackers.
Patrons are awarded door prizes throughout the evening and may purchase raffle tickets. The first prize is a $120 voucher to Art in Glass, two tickets to the Stevensville Playhouse and a $25 gift certificate for dinner at Apenstuble. Second prize is a three-month membership to Anytime Fitness and third prize is a basket of books — all donated by guest authors plus goodies from the Montana Chocolate Company.
The theme this year is “Welcome to the Jungle” with a nod to “The Jungle Book” by author Rudyard Kipling.
“We try to pick something fun each year,” Griffin said. “We were trying to think of what was fun to decorate with the jungle theme is fun and adds color. For our 20th year the theme was “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Verne. We went all out and had a 12-foot squid which we ended up having a drawing for someone to take home.”
Last year the theme of the Chocolate and Authors party was “Building a Better World” with construction decorations as the library was undergoing some construction at that time.
In addition to luscious chocolate desserts the draw to the library event includes local authors with a wide variety of genre from fantasy to non-fiction.
Local authors coming to the event include Dale Burk, Adele Lewis Coon, Mike Cyrus, Casey Dawes, Kathy Dufresne, Norma Gilmore, B. M. Griffin, Molly Hackett, Patricia Ann Holmes, Judy Hoy, Michael Hoyt, Jane Lambert, Mark Lewing and Milana Marsenich, Robert McCallum, Mary Mills, Rebecca E. Ondov, Alicia Sprinkle, Powell Swanser, Jim Tree-Gilmore, Danica Winters and Ed Wolff.
Cyrus’s novels "The Kingdom Come, The Journey Back Begins" and "Tall Tree Chronicles" reflect his love of adventure. Mills’ first published book is a memoir "My Father’s Ledger, a story of grace, survival and healing." Dr. Norma Gilmore’s book "Get Ready, Set, Go and Read" is a program to help students with reading problems. Lambert's book "Charlie Russell: The Cowboy Year"s has received excellent reviews in Western Horseman and American Cowboy.
Michael Hoyt has written guides to hiking in the Bitterroot and "Ranger," a young adult novel.
Writer and publisher Dale Burk writes about the outdoors and include his camp cookbook.
Local, knowledgeable gardener Molly Hackett is the author of "Compleat Gardner" and "Year in the Garden." Patricia Ann Holmes writes charming little books for early readers about "Little Toad."
The authors plan to visit with guests and sign books purchased at the event.
Griffin said the fundraising makes it possible for the Friends of the Library to support the work of the North Valley Public Library.
“We help out and make sure they can keep running, enhance the programs that they have, give them help with any small miscellaneous thing the library needs – like tuning the piano and other things they don’t have money for in their budget,” she said. “We do a lot with the kids programs and specialty programs like humanities – we pay for the speakers they have come in.”
The event is a time to visit the library, see the renovations that make the library a much brighter and more welcoming place.
On Friday the North Valley Public Library will close for regular business at 2 p.m. while it is set up for the 23rd Annual Chocolate and Authors fundraising event.
Tickets are a $5 donation at the door 4 to 8 p.m. at North Valley Public Library, 208 Main St, Stevensville. For more information call 406-777-5061.