No one in Hannibal is any more excited about Sunday's arrival of the Queen of the Mississippi riverboat than Gail Bryant, director of the Hannibal Convention & Visitors Bureau. But don't look for Bryant on the Hannibal riverfront when the new boat pulls into shore. Why? Because it will be arriving at 4:30 a.m.
Bryant will be present when the vessel's 146 passengers disembark between 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. She hopes there will be a crowd on hand.
"I invite people to come to the riverfront at 8 a.m. to help welcome the passengers," she said.
Bryant already knows she won't be alone.
"Tom and Becky, the Hannibal Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, possibly the Unsinkable Molly Brown, chamber members, community leaders and dignitaries will greet them," said Bryant in an e-mail. "This will be another great opportunity to show our Hannibal hospitality."
Sunday's arrival of the Queen of the Mississippi, its initial port of call during its cruise to St. Paul, Minn., will be the first of several stops the riverboat makes in Hannibal over the next few months. Its current arrival schedule in Hannibal is: Sunday, Sept. 2; Thursday, Sept. 13; Monday, Sept. 17; Sunday, Oct. 21; Thursday, Nov. 1.
Also making stops in Hannibal will be the American Queen. Its first visit is planned Sunday, Sept. 16. The remaining visits will be on Thursday, Sept. 27; Sunday, Sept. 30; Thursday, Oct. 11; Sunday, Oct. 14; Sunday, Oct. 28; Wednesday, Oct. 31; and Sunday, Nov. 11.
The American Queen's visits will be from 8 a.m. until noon. The Queen of the Mississippi will stick around longer. After arriving Sunday at 4:30 a.m., the Queen of the Mississippi will remain in Hannibal until 6 p.m.
To accommodate the Queen of the Mississippi's passengers, a number of businesses will be opening their doors Sunday morning, according to Bryant.
Public meetings took place last week to discuss the Queen of the Mississippi's initial arrival.
"Overall, we had a good response to our two meetings," said Bryant. "It is great for the community to have communication to our businesses/tourism partners to better serve our visitors."