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Posted: 02/06/13

Love to abound during
Romeo Romantic Days

Observer Staff Writer

      Eating chocolate, being with that special someone and giving to others all have something in common: They cause feelings of love to stir in the heart.
       That is why those who visit downtown Romeo on Valentine's Day weekend will find love in many different forms as the Romeo Merchants, Restaurants and Professionals Association (MRP) present the Romeo Romantic Days and Chocolate Festival.
       The Romeo Post Office, Romeo Masonic Temple and Women Marines Association Motor City Chapter are also teaming up to send some love to soldiers overseas with the annual Operation: From Romeo with Love care package drive.
       The event will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15 and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 16.
       Connie Connelly, Romeo MRP president, said Romantic Days has been a long-standing tradition in the village, and hopes it will continue into the future to show off Romeo's charms.
       "We've got a lot to offer here," Connelly said. "There aren't many other towns that have the quaintness that we have, and we pull on the name of Romeo for being a town of romance."
       The first day of the event zeroes in on that romance with free horse and carriage rides from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., weather permitting, and dining specials at local restaurants.
       Ladies can also receive a red carnation, and couples can check out downtown Romeo stores as they hold special sale hours until 7 p.m.
       Saturday focuses on the tasty part of the holiday with an emphasis on chocolate, with participating members from the MRP offering chocolate treats from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for shoppers. Visitors can also enjoy free trolley rides and check out what couples wore to weddings at the Bancroft-Stranahan Museum.
       Downtown visitors can scope out the Member's Exhibit at the Starkweather Arts Center, where a raffle drawing will be held at 5 p.m. The lucky ticket holder to win a basket of gourmet chocolate treats provided by the MRP. Tickets will be sold for $1 each, with proceeds going to the art center.
       Love for the troops
       Mary Merritt, public relations officer of the Women Marines Association and Romeo resident, said the care package drive is all about letting the troops know they are not forgotten and to boost their morale.
       "One of the latest letters we got back was from someone in the Army from Jackson, Mich.<he and his daughter are deployed," she said. "He said it's so great to receive the packages, and it meant a lot coming from Michigan."
       For the past few years, the Romeo Masonic Temple has offered space at its building on N. Main Street to the cause. Merritt said previous to that she would hold the packing portion in her basement.
       "We're thankful to live in a community that is so giving," she said.
       Alex Stubbs, III, postmaster for the Romeo Post Office, said there has been more than 6,000 packages sent out by the efforts of Romeo care package drives.
       "For this community, in three years, to collectively contribute enough items to fill 6,000 boxes, it's unbelievable," Stubbs said. "We've got young and old working together as a whole, and it's a great thing to be a part of."
       He said the hope is to put together and ship out 500 packages during the Feb. 16 event.
       The package drive will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Romeo Masonic Temple. The packages will be sent out to be shipped to Afghanistan once the collection has finished.
       Visitors can pick up priority mailing boxes from participating businesses as well as a list of items they can place in the boxes. The most requested items for this time of year include chocolate, facial cleansers, hand warmers, and drink mixes for water.
       The boxes can be dropped off at the Masonic Temple, where volunteers will finish packing them and seal them up. Postage will be paid for by the Women Marines Association.
       For more information, visit or

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