In previous years, closing access to Hannibal’s riverfront has caused relocations of some National Tom Sawyer Days (NTSD) events, but this year is different.
No holiday events are scheduled there, because for the first time, the sponsoring Hannibal Jaycees club has a new permanent event location at 320 S. Third St. (Lyon and South Third).
With the Mississippi River rising again, the riverfront was closed to traffic Thursday night, June 27, at midnight in preparation for installation of all five floodgates on the flood wall today, June 28.
“Since we are inside the flood wall, there is nothing that is going to change,” said Bryan Hammock, 2013 NTSD co-chairperson with Rhonda Stevenson and Jennifer Foster.
The Fourth of July parade will end at a different location, he added. After going down Broadway to Main, it will continue south on South Main to Church Street, “then disburse going back up Church.” Earlier it was scheduled to end on Warren Barrett Drive, but the Main Street floodgate will prevent that route.
“We have been trying for many years to get inside the floodgates and find a permanent location for Tom Sawyer Days,” Hammock said. The property was formerly owned by Smith Central Plumbing, he said, and “Smith worked with us a lot on the price. They were able to get us a great deal in becoming property owners in downtown Hannibal.”
The Jaycees took possession of the property in August 2012. The Haunted House was the first public event there, “and it served us very well,” Hammock said. The club recently had a Midwest Music Mahem concert on the property, and after NTSD the club plans to add to the building so it may not need to use tents next year.
“Now that we have a permanent home we can think about doing some bigger entertainment acts,” he said. “There is talk of some bigger name artists for concerts” in future summers.
During NTSD, the new location will include Tanyard Gardens, where bands will play, beginning Wednesday. Some contests are scheduled there, along with the food vendors. “We will have 10 to 15 picnic tables and have more food vendors coming this year,” Hammock said.
The children’s carnival will be on a vacant lot at Lyon and South Main streets, which the Jaycees have purchased, next to their property.
Several contests, including the frog jump, tricycle races and Jaycees’ events, will be on a nearby parking lot. Other events will be located elsewhere, such as the fence painting at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home mall.
“We have a new location and hope everybody will come down and check out our new location,” Hammock said. “We have good entertainment lined up, and we are excited about it.”
Page 2 of 2 - One of the bands is Blackjack Billy, which Hammock said, “has opened for numerous famous bands and country stars.” It will play in Tanyard Gardens at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 6. Also, a local talent show is again on the schedule.
Additional details about National Tom Sawyer Days events and entertainment, including some new events, will be published Saturday, June 29.
More information is on the website hannibaljaycees.org.