National Tom Sawyer Days will begin with contests, celebrations

Posted: May. 29, 2019 4:39 pm

The 64th National Tom Sawyer Days events will mark the arrival of summer in America's Hometown with a combination of light-hearted celebrations, performances and competitions beginning with a "Cornament" on Saturday, June 29.

The decades-long summer tradition presented by the Hannibal Jaycees will kick off with a variety of events planned through Saturday, July 6. Contests will include traditional events dating back to the origins of the festival, joined by new attractions to celebrate Hannibal's bicentennial year.


The annual cornhole tournament will begin with registration at 10 a.m. and tournament play starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 29 on the new grassy area inside Tanyard Gardens, 320 S. Third St. The cost per team is $20, and cash and trophies will be awarded to the first, second and third place winning teams. The event is open to participants of all ages, and pre-registration is not required. A cash bar will be available, and the tournament is sponsored by Golden Eagle Distributing and Them Guys Cornhole.

Hannibal Jaycees Alumni Night

Previous Hannibal Jaycees members are invited to gather and share memories and discover the ways current members are giving back to the community. The event will take place from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, July 3 at Tanyard Gardens.

National Fence Painting Contest

The National Fence Painting Contest dates back to 1956, joining the Tom and Becky Contest as the main events. In 1959, both contests were moved to Independence Day to become part of what is known today as National Tom Sawyer Days. Local dignitaries and the previous year's champions judge participants on three criteria, based on Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" — authenticity of each person's costume along with the speed and quality of their work. Peewee contests for youth five to nine years old and girls ten to 13 years old will take place at North Main and Hill streets Friday, July 5. Boys State, Boys Local and Over 30 contests will be Saturday, July 6. Registration for each day's contests begins at 1 p.m. and the fast-paced painting begins at 2 p.m. The top three painters in the local, state and national contests receive a plaque and prizes.

Participants can register online at or by contacting Amy Allen at 573-795-5751 or, Ashley Veach at 573-795-2559 or Kami Harsell at 573-795-6233 Registrations can also sent to Hannibal Jaycee’s/Fence Painting PO Box 484 Hannibal, Mo. 63401 or emailed to

National Tom Sawyer Days Parade

The traditional Independence Day parade will start with registration and line up of floats and vehicles at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 4 in the Save-A-Lot parking lot at 1222 Broadway. The parade will proceed down Broadway to N. Main St. beginning at 10 a.m. The entry fee for each participant in the parade is $10, with proceeds going toward the St. Jude's Run.

Hannibal's Got Talent

Hannibal residents and visitors are invited to share their skills Thursday, July 4 during a family-friendly talent show at Tanyard Gardens. Registration will be at 1 p.m., and performers will begin taking the stage at 2 p.m. The show is sponsored by HOMEBANK.

Washers Tournament

The grassy area at Tanyard Gardens will also be the site for the Washers Tournament, with registration starting at 10 a.m. and tournament play kicking off at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 6. The cost per two-person team is $20, and the contest is open to participants of all ages. Cash and trophies will be awarded to the first, second and third place teams, and a cash bar will be available. The tournament is sponsored by Golden Eagle Distributing and Them Guys Cornhole.

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