A display of Shirley Cromer’s Kahlua cake balls at Favorite Things Antiques on Yampa Avenue during the 16th annual Art Walk and fifth annual Taste of Chocolate. Cromer’s concoctions have been sold and shipped to customers in Qatar, Canada, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Singapore, the U.S. and elsewhere. And they were popular Saturday as well, winning Cromer the top prize in the Taste of Chocolate competition.

Photo by Ben McCanna

A display of Shirley Cromer’s Kahlua cake balls at Favorite Things Antiques on Yampa Avenue during the 16th annual Art Walk and fifth annual Taste of Chocolate. Cromer’s concoctions have been sold and shipped to customers in Qatar, Canada, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Singapore, the U.S. and elsewhere. And they were popular Saturday as well, winning Cromer the top prize in the Taste of Chocolate competition.

Artists display their work at annual Art Walk, Taste of Chocolate

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Taste of Chocolate winner

Shirley Cromer with Kahlua cake balls

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Shirley Cromer laughs during the 16th annual Art Walk and fifth annual Taste of Chocolate on Saturday night. Cromer won the Taste of Chocolate event with her Kahlua cake balls, which garnered the most votes from participants.

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Local residents stroll downtown Craig on Saturday night during the 16th annual Art Walk and fifth annual Taste of Chocolate. The event featured 19 different art displays and 15 different chocolate assortments at downtown businesses.

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From left, Hunter Beckett, 9, Holden Beckett, 7, and Stephanie Beckett take in the light show outside The Jungle Pet Shop during the 16th annual Art Walk and fifth annual Taste of Chocolate on Saturday night. Hunter said the light show was his favorite part of the event.

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Kirstie McPherson sells her handmade jewelry during the 16th annual Art Walk and fifth annual Taste of Chocolate on Saturday night. McPherson said sales of her jewelry went well.

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Craig resident Bill Muldoon stands by a ceramics display at the Museum of Northwest Colorado during the 16th annual Art Walk and fifth annual Taste of Chocolate on Saturday night. The clay pots, made by ceramics students at Colorado Northwestern Community College, were sold in a silent auction to benefit Love In the Name of Christ of the Yampa Valley.

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These ceramic fish were made by Bill Muldoon, a Craig resident and Colorado Northwestern Community College ceramics student. The fish were on display at the Museum of Northwest Colorado.

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Sharon Kohls stands by her oil paintings in KS Kreations during the 16th annual Art Walk and fifth annual Taste of Chocolate on Saturday night. Kohls is a certified Bob Ross painting instructor, and often holds painting classes in the store. Kohls, like the late Bob Ross, can crank out landscape paintings in half an hour.

Matt Dilldine hunched over a box of chocolates Saturday night in the back room of KS Kreations, his wife’s store on Yampa Avenue in downtown Craig.

He slowly twisted his handlebar mustache while he took single bites from 15 different selections.

Dilldine had collected the chocolates at 13 downtown Craig businesses during the 16th annual Art Walk and fifth annual Taste of Chocolate.

Taste of Chocolate pits local bakers against each other for the best creation. The winner is decided in a vote among ticket holders who paid $10 to stroll the town and gather treats.

Matt said three of the local bakers were family members — his wife, Kandee Dilldine, and his daughters Kassie Vesely and Erica Dilldine.

“What am I going to do?” Matt said. “I can’t vote. I’ll be a jerk no matter what I do.”

The Taste of Chocolate winner won’t be announced until later today. However, Craig baker Shirley Cromer was creating a stir with her Kahlua cake balls.

Cromer had set up a display of her chocolates at Favorite Things Antiques.

It’s fair to suggest that Cromer was a ringer.

She is a Craig-based professional cake designer who has global reach via the Internet

“I sell cake decorations all over the world,” Cromer said. “I just sent some to Qatar. And, I’ve got an order for 150 flowers going to Canada.”

Her cake balls were decorated with the same types of handmade candied flowers that she has shipped to countries like Spain, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Singapore and more.

Across the avenue in The Kitchen Shop, baker Joanne Roberson was handing out her contest entries, cannoli tartlets.

Roberson, who won Taste of Chocolate a few years ago, acknowledged the chance of winning this year was steep. But, she said winning is beside the point.

“You know, it’s just fun,” Roberson said. “You get to see everybody. That’s what it’s all about.”

Craig resident Carol Allen said she was at the event for the art rather than the chocolate.

Allen hung three of her still-life paintings at the Mane Attitude Salon.

“It’s fun,” Allen said of Art Walk. “You get to see everyone, and go see what they’re doing. And, you get to compare your work with everyone else kind of, because everyone’s stuff is different.”

Allen said she made the rounds early in the evening, but she didn’t sample the chocolate.

“No, I’m trying to get off sugar,” she said. “I had cancer this year.”

Allen, whose spine cancer is in remission, said she spent the last year enduring radiation treatments, surgeries and morphine doses for her pain.

“Now I’m cancer-free, I’m drug-free and I’m trying to get sugar-free,” she said. “Sugar, so far, has been the hardest thing to quit.”

Allen said she didn’t paint during her cancer year, but that has changed now that she’s feeling better.

“I painted three new ones,” she said. “It’s been fun to get back into it again, to get back into life again.

“I lost a year, so now it’s time to get with the program.”

Craig resident Bill Muldoon said he recently returned to ceramics after many years of neglecting the hobby.

“I used to work for a potter many years ago, and I’m kind of coming back to it,” he said. “I enrolled in a (Colorado Northwestern Community College) class and I’ve had a lot of fun with it.”

Muldoon, 75, displayed his ceramics at the Museum of Northwest Colorado, along with other CNCC ceramics students.

The students were selling some of their works in a silent auction to benefit Love In the Name of Christ of the Yampa Valley, a non-profit organization.

Muldoon said his new works — monstrous-looking ceramic fish — were a departure from the norm.

“I’ve never done anything like that before,” Muldoon said. “I just let my mind wander a little bit.

“I have a bad dream every once in a while, and I work it out in pottery class.”

Clint Gabbert, owner of The Jungle Pet Shop, made dual contributions to Art Walk and Taste of Chocolate.

Gabbert set up an artistic light display on his storefront and offered “Jungle Brownies” within the store.

Gabbert said the events livened up the town.

“We should do this once a month,” he said laughing.

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