HANNIBAL | The Victorian Festival of Christmas is bringing a wide variety of events throughout the season to downtown Hannibal, with several events dedicated to celebrating Christmas and Mark Twain's birthday on Small Business Saturday.
Saturday, Nov. 30 is Small Business Saturday, and downtown businesses will celebrate the first week of the Victorian Festival of Christmas with a candy cane hunt in each location, along with a Christmas Extravaganza passport good for a choice of five stocking stuffers, treats and other items from participating shops. The Mark Twain Birthday Bash celebrating Mark Twain's 184th birthday will feature children's old fashioned games and treats from 1 to 3 p.m. and a mustache contest from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Mark Twain Museum. The traditional lighting of the community Christmas tree and Mark Twain Boyhood Home gardens will begin at 5 p.m. on Hill St. with music performed by the Salvation Army Brass Band and carols from Tom and Becky Ambassadors.
The first week of festivities will usher in the beginning of the Festival of Lights Window Display competition, with colorful decorations, lights and live actors creating scenes in the storefronts of downtown shops each weekend. Highlights for the second week of the festival include Christmas carolers from Hannibal elementary schools and the Hannibal Jaycees Disney Winter Wonderland Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 7. Santa Claus will walk down Broadway to collect toys to donate to the Toys for Tots program for children in need. The parade will begin at 6 p.m., making its way down Broadway before turning onto N. Main St.
After the second week of the candy cane hunt begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, carolers from Hannibal elementary schools will fill downtown with traditional Christmas songs. Students from Oakwood Elementary School will perform at noon, followed by A.D. Stowell Elementary School at 1 p.m., Eugene Field Elementary School at 2 p.m. and Veterans Elementary School at 3 p.m.
Hannibal Jaycees 2nd Vice President Bobi Mathews commended Sara Rothweiler, chair of the 2019 parade, for reaching out to local businesses and getting the word out for what has been an annual tradition for the service group. Mathews said the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, who run the Toys for Tots program, will join the parade with a full color guard and six large vehicles. She feels inspired to see members of the community coming together to donate to a cause to benefit area families.
“It is always sweet and special to see real young kids give Santa a gift to give to somebody else, but also the community coming together — because there's no cost to enter the parade except for a new, unwrapped toy. It's always nice to see the community get involved,” Mathews said.
Rebekah Buddemeyer, an employee at Java Jive, described the festival as a “fabulous” event that brings visitors from near and far to check out the specials and activities at various downtown businesses as they get in the Christmas spirit.
The festival's second week includes horse-drawn carriage rides at various times, pictures with Santa Claus from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., a Christmas Light Show at Mark Twain Dinette from 6-9 p.m. and The American Standard performing live music at the Mark Twain Brewing Company from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.
More information about the Victorian Festival of Christmas is available by visiting https://www.historichannibalmo.com/christmas. Information and registration for the Christmas parade are available by calling Sara Rothweiler at 573-603-4184 or emailing email@example.com.