HANNIBAL | The Hannibal Jaycees' annual summer tradition of National Tom Sawyer Days is still coming to America's Hometown for 2020, but changes will be applied to each event to ensure safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Due to the current situation with COVID-19, the Jaycees are proceeding with NTSD, but it will look very different than previous years,” the Jaycees said in a release.
For 65 years, the Jaycees, an organization comprised entirely of volunteers, has hosted National Tom Sawyer Days. The Fourth of July celebration includes events like a fence painting contest, carnival, Fourth of July parade and entertainment, as well as activities organized by partners like the arts and crafts festival, pet contest, community fireworks, Hannibal Cannibal walk/run and mud volleyball competition. National Tom Sawyer Days is one of the ways the Jaycees raise money to put directly back into the community through various avenues.
“The Hannibal Jaycees have been and always remain an organization dedicated to the community and helping with its needs, even if that looks a little different this year,” the Jaycees said in their release.
Jaycees members will be complying with the standards put forth by Gov. Mike Parson. In Parson's Show Me Strong Recovery Plan, outdoor summer activities are encouraged, and the plan specifies limiting the number of participants at certain events, modifying activities and increasing sanitization measures for facilities and participants. Also, the governor recommended keeping high traffic and high-touch areas closed such as playgrounds. The governor's act is effective through May 31, and could be extended or feature less restrictions or additional restrictions depending on the situation surrounding COVID-19.
Each event will be evaluated in light of any additional safety and sanitation measures necessary to proceed with this year's National Tom Sawyer Days. The Jaycees say they will remain in contact with government officials, the local health department and will follow the governor's frequent updates to ensure any safety guidelines are followed.
Updates will be made on the Hannibal Jaycees Facebook page as the celebration draws nearer.