Not content to simply jump on the Lewis and Clark bandwagon, Melanie Lessard is preparing to broaden the experience for locals and visitors alike with the opening of the Lewis and Clark Trading Post downtown and the release of her cookbook, "Eat Your Way West with Lewis and Clark."

Lessard said she saw a need in the community for a "trading post," which she described as a Lewis and Clark information center where people could chat about the explorers, study them, learn about their journey or just buy a mug, peace medallion, a T-shirt or a copy of their journals. The trading post, inside Lessard's stained glass studio, A Heart of Glass, at 1001 Commercial St., also carries a full line of certified Lewis and Clark products as well as maps and artwork from area artists.

Lessard has also collected recipes from food history lovers, family and friends and compiled them into "Eat Your Way West with Lewis and Clark," a cookbook filled with pen and ink drawings of the animals that fed the birth of the West plus quotes from the original Corps of Discovery journals. The cookbook sells for $13.95, with a portion of the proceeds going to the University Wranglers 4-H Equine Education Enrichment Fund.

A grand opening and book signing will take place at the Lewis and Clark Trading Post from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Lessard welcomes the public to "taste our Meriwether's Hot Popcorn and learn something new."

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