You can't say Hannibal's Bicentennial Parade on June 22 took place without a hitch, as the saying goes, because it was led by a hitch of Budweiser Clydesdales.
The Clydesdales had already attracted crowds of Hannibalians to several locations earlier in the week, where families had opportunities to introduce their children to the world-famous horses and pose for photos.
The Saturday parade began at 10:30 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. due to the threat of rain that would have prevented the Clydesdales from participating. Despite the early beginning, the parade attracted big crowds all along Broadway, North Third and Main streets.
The Clydesdales' trucks were in the parade so they were ready to load the horses. Their Hannibal appearance was coordinated by Golden Eagle Distributing of Hannibal.
The horses pulled a 1903 Studebaker beer wagon, carrying a Dalmation along with the drivers and Hannibal Mayor James Hark.
The parade featured floats competing for Bicentennial Parade prizes. The Century 21 Broughton Team won the best float prize of $200.
The Mark Twain Cave won the best themed float prize of $100 with a replica of its 1819 discovery cave entrance.
The Mayor's Choice plaque went to The Banana Bike Brigade of bike sculptures from St. Louis, with its bikers carrying colorful “animals.” It was sponsored by the Hannibal Arts Council.
Groomingdales Pet Boutique brought several dogs, and CoolByke had a group of riders on its Hayburner.
Gail Bryant, leader of the Hannibal Bicentennial Committee, was overwhelmed by the parade attendance, she said. She voiced a “special thanks to Golden Eagle Distributing staff for making this an incredible week by hosting the Budweiser Clydesdales.”
"The Bicentennial Committee appreciates all the local assistance in planning activities like those scheduled for the future."
“National Tom Sawyer Days has a great lineup” of musicians, Bryant said. Jerrod Niemann with Special Guest Feudin’ Hillbillys will kickoff at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 29, in Tanyard Gardens.
Highlight performers Rhonda Vincent and the Rage will take the stage July 3.
Drone racing will be held for the first time at the festival as competitors vie for the Bill Lear Innovation Cup on July 20 and 21.
Tickets are on sale for the Victor Wainwright and the Train concert on Aug. 24. See hannibal2019.com for tickets or details about bicentennial events.
See photo gallery and videos for more pictures of the parade.