Let’s all think July!

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“Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer we’d all have frozen to death.”  Mark Twain

Here in Hannibal, we just got some exciting news that has gotten me thinking about summer, which is a welcome reprieve from trying not to bust my rump stumbling over mounds of snow and ice.  Our National Tom Sawyer Days Celebration, held annually over July 4th weekend every year, is going to have a new twist – a music festival!  It’s going to feature an afternoon of gospel with The Booth Brothers and The Isaacs!  (If you don’t know who those groups are, ask anyone who watches The Gaither Homecoming series and then step back as you watch said person come down with a case of the fantods in excitement.)

AND, if that’s not your cup o’ tea, the music in the evening is going to be … Neil McCoy and The Oak Ridge Boys!  Take it from me; you don’t grow up in Northeast Missouri without knowing who Neil McCoy or The Oak Ridge Boys are.  Any concert that includes a singer with a hit song titled “Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On” followed by a group that has earned a lifetime achievement award (and sings “Elvira”!) is nothing to sneeze at.  I am very much hoping to get my picture taken with McCoy, although by that time I will be 9 months pregnant … on second thought, that probably wouldn’t be a picture I’d frame to put in the office.  Maybe I should just clap like the rest of the crowd.

For anyone who’s never been to National Tom Sawyer Days (or NTSD as it’s often abbreviated by Hannibal insiders), you really have to experience it to appreciate it.  What I like most are the reactions from writers and journalists that come to cover the event.  Last year, Peter Guttman, who often photographs for National Geographic, was in town to shoot photos.  A resident of New York, let’s just say the Frog Jumping competition was a bit of a new experience for him.  He took to it like a fish to water though, and his son actually participated in the Fence Painting Competition.

If you really want to get in on the action, visit the Convention & Visitors Bureau Web site at www.VisitHannibal.com. We have info on the concerts as well as all the fun events  associated with Tom Sawyer Days, including the Frog Jumping Contest, Fence Painting Competition, Tom & Becky Competition, parade, fireworks, carnival, craft fair, etc.  If you want to sign up to be part of the action, go straight to the source; the Hannibal Jaycees organization Web site www.HannibalJaycees.org.  There you’ll find a history of all the events, applications to be part of the fun (if you’re from out-of-state you HAVE to be pre-registered for the fence painting competition!) etc.  Now don’t be surprised if some of the information is a little out of date – as with any all-volunteer organization, some things might be posted a bit late.  But, under the NTSD (see? Now you’re initiated!) heading, there are lists of all the chairmen of events.  Got a question?  Just call them up and ask, or call us up at 1-TOM-AND-HUCK and we’ll get the answer for you.

I’m embarrassed to admit with all of the things to do during National Tom Sawyer Days, I get most excited about eating funnel cake.  I have a sneaking suspicion, as I will have grown to mythic proportions by July, that this year’s funnel cake will be the best ever.  If you come to National Tom Sawyer Days this year, just look for the happy pregnant woman with powdered sugar on her baby bump belly – that will be me, and I’ll be happy to show you around.