HANNIBAL — The Hannibal Bar-B-Q Festival is set to return to Heartland Field at 4015 Market Street this weekend, with a variety of local barbecue offerings, colorful Jeeps on hand and live music ready for all ages to have a good time.
Mayor James Hark said every hotel is almost at capacity in town, and he said a new addition this year is the Hannibal Trolley Co. shuttling festival participants to and from downtown Hannibal. Event organizer Jason Krigbaum acknowledged it took hard work to get everything together, but he was very excited, and he felt people would be ready to get together again for the event’s second year. For 2021, Hark said each participant gets to cast the vote for winning teams — many of whom are from America’s Hometown.
Hark and Krigbaum looked forward to welcoming a group which could be 50% larger or more than the inaugural festival.
“It’s good for Hannibal,” Krigbaum said.
Hark said the effects will be far-reaching.
“This generates excitement for all the businesses of Hannibal,” he said, noting people can come and go as they please with an armband for the day’s events.
In 2019, judges from Kansas City determined the winner. This time around, each person gets a ticket for a “more interactive” experience as they vote for the winner. With the amount of people expected to arrive, they will be shopping, touring historic sites and visiting other businesses which struggled due to the pandemic, Hark said.
Krigbaum wanted to thank the more than 20 local businesses sponsoring this year’s festival, including primary sponsors KICK-FM, 100.9 The Eagle, Boland Automotive Hannibal Regional, Nauser Beverage WGEM and Heartland Auto Body and Towing. Hark was enthusiastic about the weekend as well.
“We’re mostly looking forward to families being able to come out and enjoy an outdoor event,” Hark said. “Last year, obviously, people didn’t get to do things and people are excited not only to get out, and this is a family event.”
Hark said he grew up with music from the 1980s, with Firehouse set to hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. and Warrant rocking at 9:15 p.m. NOWAKE, “our homegrown, Hannibal band” will perform at 6 p.m. Gates open at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 23.
Hark said Firehouse played Hannibal’s former riverfront amphitheater 30 years ago on June 11, 1991. Danny Murphy came by Heartland Auto Body and Towing with his t-shirt and ticket stub from that show, along with his tickets to see them for their return performance.
Gates open at noon on Saturday, July 24. The American Standard will perform at 3 p.m., with Rough Ryders following at 5:30 p.m. David Lee Murphy will perform at 7:30 p.m., with Travis Tritt taking the stage at 9:15 p.m.
VIP tickets sold out in 12 minutes for the Travis Tritt show, but Hark stressed there will plenty of nice, green space to set up a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the performances each day.
Tickets are in limited supply, and will be available until Wednesday at Heartland Auto Body and Towing for $35 for Friday and $45 for Saturday. A select amount of tickets will be available at the gates.
More information and the schedule of events is available by visiting hannibalbbq.com/ or the event’s Facebook page.