Crowds savor Taste of Twain offerings

HANNIBAL – Taste treats, along with a variety of wines and beers, were shared by Hannibalians and visitors at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum's annual Taste of Twain Wine, Food, and Beer Festival Saturday.

One colorful group attracting lots of admiration had arrived in Hannibal from across the country for their semi-annual Civil War celebration.

Attired in authentic Civil War attire from the 1860s, the group of 100 had requested the museum staff plan two tours, with too many of them for one group, according to Melissa Cummins of the museum.

The group spends two years planning each trip, then arrives separately in the chosen city. They were going on a dinner cruise on the Mark Twain Riverboat.

Seeing this group in their Civil War costumes added to the festival, Kristie Trevathan said, as she was seated with a group in the Matk Twain Boyhood Home garden.

Describing the festival as “always a good time,” Trevathan said she was enjoying the shade in the garden and the music.

Live music accompanied this fundraiser for the museum, with Seth Wade performing songs like “Sweet Home Alabama” at 415 N. Main and Tim Hart singing “Proud to Be an American” and other tunes on the Hill Street stage at the boyhood home mall.

The Taste of Twain staff invited the attendees to vote for their favorite food, wine and beer.

The Mark Twain Brewing Co. of Hannibal was a double winner, voted both best food and beer. The staff had earlier reported their Chilean salmon was receiving compliments, and this was the food named in the voting.

No beer flavor was mentioned in the voting, but Paul Dewey of the Mark Twain Brewing staff had earlier reported their America's Home Town Pilsner was the most requested flavor.

The best wine vote went to the peach wine served by the Small Batch Winery of Wentzville, owned by Jim and Joan Blattel. The staff had reported their Southern Nectar wine tastes like “peaches just off the tree.”

Cummins was happy to report a huge crowd attended the festival, adding “the food was wonderful. There's something for everyone.”

Amy Johnson said her group of about 10, “are here every year. The food is always great. I like to try the steaks,” Johnson said. She especially enjoyed the ribeye steaks served by Susan Brewer at the Saints Avenue Steakhouse and Buffet booth.

Johnson also liked foods served by the Riverside Restaurant, which featured Prime Rib Crustini with homemade horseradish.

The Hannibal Area Home Brewers Association had three booths serving its brews. Adam Kaiser said some people preferred his Hefeweizen beer, while Lennie Rosenkrans' Chocolate Coconut also was popular.

Restaurant employees were busy serving their specialties. The Badger Cheese Haus was serving a variety cheeses along with cheese curds and several beers.

The Mark Twain Dinette was serving smoked pork sliders with its homemade root beer. Fiddlestiks offered pretzel bites and cheese.

County Market had the largest spread of food, with barbecued bone-in wings and buffalo bone-in wings, little smokies, meatballs and desserts, such as Snickers caramel apples.

St. James Winery offered beer, wine or cider. The staff said people liked the Frisco beer, and Hide and Seek beers, while their most requested wines were Morton and blackberry.

Mississippi Marketplace had a large spread of dips to go with pretzel grahams, cheese sticks, corn sticks and other chips.

See photo gallery for more pictures of the Taste of Twain festival.

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