• By Kelly Wilson
  • 02 Aug, 2017

Festival takes place Sept. 1 to 4

Members of Airship Iron Rose stand in their steampunk attire. Photo by Michael Bailey

Welcome to the 2017 Big River Steampunk Festival.

The festival is produced by the board and staff of the Hannibal History Museum Foundation, a federally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, as a benefit to sustain the Hannibal History Museum.

The festival also is a great way to celebrate the history of Hannibal, Mo., a town that became a main hub of commerce during the Industrial Revolution and was the epitome of the Gilded Age, a term coined by none other than Hannibal’s own Mark Twain.

We are delighted to present this year’s festival. A lot of entertainers are making their debuts in Hannibal, and there are so many fun activities for the whole family including Splendid Teapot Racing, Parasol Dueling and, of course, the highlight of the festival — the costume contests.

Festival activities may be found throughout downtown Hannibal.

Main Street 

Free entertainment will be provided throughout the weekend on the Main Street stage, located in the 200 block of North Main Street. This is where costume contests will be held, and nearby will be Splendid Teapot Racing and other events. Next to the stage is the Big River Steampunk Festival ticket and information booth, where you may purchase tickets for premium events and inquire about festival activities. Also on Main Street will be the cosplay booths with Airship Isabella, Children of Proteus, Eli August and the Abandoned Buildings and This Way to the Egress.

The Great Midway  

Located in Kiwanis Park on the riverfront, here you will find 50-plus vendors from around the country selling their Steampunk wares. Seminars and workshops will be held in the park pavilion, and all types of food and beverages will be served here. 

There are several other “off-site” locations for events such as the Time Traveler’s Ball on the Mark Twain Riverboat, British Raj Afternoon Tea at the Hannibal Arts Council, Dr. Frankenstein’s Laboratory at Bluff City Theater, Masquerade! at the Star Theater and more. The full schedule of events will be posted at BigRiverSteampunkFestival.com and also made available in our free 2017 Festival Guide distributed during the festival throughout downtown Hannibal.

While a majority of the events at the Big River Steampunk Festival are free, various premium events require you to purchase a ticket for admission. Please see the schedule of events for more information.

And finally, be sure to frequent the wonderful shops, restaurants, watering holes and museums in historic downtown Hannibal — many have sponsored the Big River Steampunk Festival and all will be open throughout the festival weekend. Please thank them for their support. 


Eli August and the Abandoned Buildings. Photo by Steampunk Chicago

Eli August and the Abandoned Buildings

The music of Eli August is akin to the waters of a great river. It’s always moving and pushing forward, whether through percussive guitar and banjo or the urgency of delicately crafted lyrics. The music never looks back.

The Dark Americana music is, at its roots, devoted to romantics and those who reflect upon their days with a certain longing for the past. Eli is often backed by an ever-changing East Coast collective called the Abandoned Buildings, who bring rich and earthy orchestrations to the settings imagined in August’s songwriting.

Miss Jubilee. Photo by TripleRPhotography

Miss Jubilee

On their maiden voyage at the Big River Steampunk Festival, Miss Jubilee has been entertaining audiences around St. Louis and beyond since the beginning of 2007 with its blend of authentic hot jazz, swing, rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll spanning the 1920s to the 1950s.

Darling Violet. Photo by K. Lewis Photography

Darling Violet

Darling Violet is originally from Pennsylvania and makes her home in Chicago. A graduate of the New England Center for Circus Arts and member of the Kansas City Society of Burlesque, she performs as a singer, dancer, aerialist, circus performer and burlesque dancer throughout the United States.  

This Way to the Egress. Photo by Slapz Photography

A band of musical miscreants from all walks of life, Egress is a tapestry of worldly influences and an alchemy of sounds modern and past, familiar and forgotten.

If Tom Waits and Patti Smith made a musical lovechild, it might sound like Egress. Whether you know them as the “dance band to ring in the end of the world with” or by their “raise your spirit, raise a glass and drop a beat” attitude, Egress will leave their mark on you.

Egress is Taylor Galassi (lead vocals, accordion, piano); Sarah Shown (vocals, piano, violin); John Wentz   (tuba, backup vocals); Joe Lynch (trombone, backup vocals); Jaclyn Kidd (guitar, banjo); and Nick Pecca (drums and percussion).  

Amy Wilder

Wilder is an accomplished model who specializes in Steampunk, fantasy, art and cosplay. Wilder discovered the Steampunk scene at DragonCon in 2010, and she is one of the top Steampunk models in the U.S., appearing in publications such as Obscurae, Surreal Beauty and Clockwork, as well as reaching almost iconic status in work with Brute Force Studios.

Wilder has achieved success in the world of mainstream modeling as well, most recently working with the Black Tape Project.  

Dr. Phineas T. Kastle. Photo by John Frey

Dr. Phineas T. Kastle, a.k.a. ‘Doc Phineas’

You’ve seen him on “Pawn Stars.” Meet him in person at Big River. Billed as “The inimitable Renaissance Man,” Doc is a veteran film, stage and TV personality, dancer, singer, college professor, occultist, champion tea dueler — a multilayered entertainer popular throughout the Steampunk culture. He is the founder of the Steampunk Imaginarium, a museum in Las Vegas, and host of the Steamathon Convention. Look for Doc Phineas around the Steampunk Festival. There’s no telling where he may turn up.

Thomas Dean Willeford. Photo by Steampunk World’s Fair

Thomas Dean Willeford

Willeford has been at the forefront of the Steampunk movement since the 1980s. His custom prop and costume workshop, formerly known as Brute Force Leather and Fallen Angel Fashions, first started making corsets and costume pieces back in 1996, “...because there was so much badly made, mass-produced rubbish out there,” Willeford said. “We wanted to show the world that craftsmanship was still alive.”

In 2015, Willeford was one of the four experts on the GSN show “Steampunk’d” and continues to be an authority of all things Steampunk, featured in festivals and conventions worldwide.

Stop by and meet Willeford at his lair on Main Street or at one of the panels and seminars he’ll be hosting at the festival. He’s the author of two books, “Steampunk Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos” and “The Steampunk Adventurer’s Guide.”

Little Beard and the ScallyWags

Beard and the Wags are back for their fourth consecutive year at the Big River Steampunk Festival. The Scally Wags Pirate Comedy Show is one of the longest-running pirate acts in the U.S., performing at Ren Faires and Steampunk conventions. You also can buy them a beer pretty much any night at Finn’s, their preferred hangout while in Hannibal.

Sammy Tramp. Photo by Brandy Jaquet

Sammy Tramp

Sammy Tramp is a charming, lovable, scamp of a tramp, a throwback to the days of Chaplin and Keaton, and the good ol’ days of Vaudeville and Music Hall. Tramp was a founding member of Chicago’s Silent Theatre company, and also is the creator and artistic director of the Beggar’s Carnivale, the Pocket Music Hall and the Traveling Flicker Factory. Tramp can be seen in ‘Steam’feld Follies as well as in several seminars; she also is the director and emcee of the Big River Steampunk Festival’s Burley-Que.

Airship Isabella. Photo by Beth Ann

Airship Isabella

Airship Isabella is a mercenary ship for hire. Through the use of steam-powered generators, augmented by a mysterious essence known only as aether, the crew travels from dimension to dimension, from time to time, completing jobs, causing a ruckus, and ”collecting” goods from each individual world.. Visit Airship Isabella at their Airship Docking Bay on Main Street.  

John ‘Grizzy’ Grzywacz

“Grizzy” has been recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s National Office in Washington, D.C., as both a National Electrical Code historian as well as “the best electrical safety trainer in the country.” Grizzy has trained OSHA compliance officers, appeared as OSHA’s electrical expert and guided electrical fatality investigations.  

Grizzy has collected electrical artifacts that he demonstrates in high-voltage keynote presentations. His audiences see a “slice of history;” his events have been characterized by attendees: “It’s like watching the History Channel, only live.”

Judas and Magnolia. Photo by James Hubbard

Judas and Magnolia

Dr. Judas Lynch and Ms. Magnolia Strange have been working together for years. Lynch is a character of Stewart Minor, which started in the St. Louis cabaret scene and is inspired by the likes of Charlie Chaplan, Buster Keaton, Harry Houdini and the Amazing Randy. Stewart has studied with the Chicago Physical Theater, Circus Harmony and the Celebration Barn Theater.  

Strange is a character of Ashleigh Lynne Packard, who started her career by performing escapology among other magicians in the St. Louis area, and now works alongside Lynch. Strange also does solo performance in hoop, modeling and lyra.

Crazy Boy Coy. Photo by Julie Fridman

‘Crazy Boy’ Coy Espinoza

‘Crazy Boy’ Coy Espinoza bills himself as “a professional idiot.” “My job consists of doing outrageous things and telling jokes while doing them. I make people laugh, and it makes me happy,” Espinoza said.  

Espinoza has been entertaining for years at Ren Faires and Steampunk conventions.

St. Louis Mystery Company

Saint Louis Mystery Company has been performing murder mysteries since 1992 nationwide from Chicago to Salt Lake City. With “The Great Airship Adventure,” the group goes all out to bring the Steampunk experience to the members. Costumes are encouraged (but not required) for this event as the actors will be in costume. Audience members will find themselves given a character for the event and will then be rubbing elbows with adventurers, scientists and all manner of Victorian characters.

Sanjula Vamana. Photo by Janice Pestana

Sanjula Vamana

As seen on “America’s Got Talent,” Sanjula Vamana is known as the “Sultan of Suffering.” He seemlessly binds the edges of almost certain death and human wonderment into a quilt of perplexing paraphilias.

Eva La Feva. Photo by Eva La Feva

Eva La Feva

Eva La Feva is a burlesque and belly dance performer and producer who has been delighting audiences for more a decade with her fluid, stylized dance techniques and her emotive and theatrical approach.

Sio Bast

Making her debut at the Big River Steampunk Festival, Bast is part of Sammy Tramp’s troupe coming from Chicago to entertain the crowd. Bast is a popular burlesque performer in Chicagoland, appearing in such prestigious cabarets as Unbridled, No-Tell Cabaret, House of Blues, Uptown Underground and more.

Children of Proteus. Photo by Children of Proteus

Children of Proteus

This group is made up of cosplayers, comic book authors, makeup artists and more. Cosplay is predominantly based on their own original characters within the worlds of Steampunk and mermaid folklore.  

Prof. Jefferson Parker. Photo by Brandy Jaquet

Professor Parker was the dance master of Entre’ Nous Club Victorian Dancers at Old Cowtown Museum for 18 years. He teaches and performs the waltz, quadrilles, contras and other dances with his wife Maddy Parker. He also demonstrates a penny farthing bicycle and offers rides during the festival.

Melinda Kaye. Photo by Melinda Kaye

Melinda Kaye

A college professor in music and voice, Melinda Kaye will be fascinating audiences with her mastery of the Hurdy Gurdy, a crank-driven string instrument that can produce the volume of several instruments at once.  


Meeting of the Society For Fermented Alchemy

You spoke, and we listened. You wanted a kick-off event on Friday night of the festival. You wanted to hobnob with world-class entertainers, meet the vendors of the Great Midway, and commune with other Steampunkers who have gathered in Hannibal from around the globe. Here’s your chance. Music, food, wine and beer tastings and a complimentary souvenir wine glass will be offered at the meet-and-greet party.

Masquerade! at the Star Theater

Don your most exotic Steampunk mask and prepare to party at the Big River Masquerade. The Star Theater, built in 1906, provides a splendid venue to immerse you in another place and time.

Dancing, a la carte menu, cash bar, themed merchandise and more make this event the premiere party of the Big River Steampunk Festival.

Frankenstein’s Lab. Photo by John Grzywacz

Frankenstein’s Laboratory with Professor Sparks

In this electrifying event, making its debut at the Big River Steampunk Festival, see the high-voltage special effects devices used in vintage movies live on stage — arcing, sparking and throwing spectacular electrical bolts just as they did on the set when originally filmed.

• Learn about the history of these devices and the people behind them such as Ken Strickfaden, who created many of the first high-voltage special effects for movies, as well as Nikola Tesla, the scientist who gave us today’s electricity.

• See the high-voltage special effects devices operating again live on stage for the first time since the filming of these classic films in the early 20th century.

• Witness the Tesla Coil, generating nearly a half-million volts throwing its large arcs and sparks on stage

• See a demonstration of the “electric chair” effect reminiscent of carnival sideshows where Miss Electra is completely impervious to electricity with arcs and flames emanating from her fingers.

Dr. Frankenstein’s Lab is a unique and extraordinary event steeped in electrical history, movie history, and spectacular (yet safe) visual displays of high voltage arcs, sparks and bolts of electricity demonstrated live on stage by Professor Sparks.  

Nocturnal Paranormal Adventure

Not for the faint of heart, this late-night guided “investigation” of the old church, which dates to 1884, will have you searching for signs of paranormal activity using Haunted Hannibal Dowsing Rods.

Also, join Swami Doc Phineas for interactive psychic empowerment and an exploration of the spirits who may be present in this notoriously haunted location.

We cannot guarantee that you will have a paranormal experience in any of the spots you’ll explore, and we cannot guarantee that you won’t, either. Brought to you by Haunted Hannibal Ghost Tours and Dr. Phineas T. Kastle.

British Raj Afternoon Tea

Victorians were fascinated visiting all corners of the British Empire, and no destination was more exotic than the home of the Taj Mahal. Celebrate the pageantry and spiritualism of India with an expert of Asian antiquities and customs, Dr. Phineas T. Kastle. Learn the customs and traditions of the British Raj as you enjoy chai, samosas and other treats. Each guest may take their teacup and saucer as a souvenir.

‘Steam’feld Follies

Harkening back to the days of the glorious Ziegfeld Follies, this Big River revival will make you laugh, cry and be rendered spellbound as you enjoy the talent and showmanship of remarkable performers. This mélange of acts from across the United States — escape artists, aerials and trapeze, musicians, comedians, jugglers — will delight audiences of all ages. This is the most popular event of the festival, so be sure to reserve your tickets in advance.

The Burley-Que

Aerialists, comedians, rowdy rogue pirates, naughty novelty songs from the turn-of-the-20th century and more. You never know what Sanjula Vamana will do next. Have a rollicking good time of music and mirth featuring an amazing bill of after-hours entertainment geared for adults only. Must be 21 years of age to attend.

Big River Murder Mystery, ‘The Great Airship Race’

An all new adventure for 2017, and smaller group sizes this year. It is September 1898, and the Great Airship War has passed into history and the public has become interested in more practical uses for airships.

In August the New York World newspaper, sensing this trend of popularity, announced an airship race from New York to San Francisco, with a $50,000 prize for the ship with the best time. Who knew that one of the airships would be found drifting in the wind near Hannibal, Mo., with the crew dead at the controls.  

The St. Louis Murder Mystery Company invites you to participate in this interactive mystery. Prizes will be awarded for the best male and female answers. This is your chance to sleuth in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Who.

Monday Brunch. Photo by Chronicle Lady

Labor Day Brunchtopia

Gather with your Steampunk friends for a delightful outdoor catered brunch. Sip a mimosa while you reminisce about the weekend’s festivities and plan your final day of the 2017 Big River Steampunk Festival. This special event has limited seating, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance.

Historic Homes and Architectural Tour

Here’s an opportunity to visit the magnificent Victorian homes and architecturally significant buildings of Hannibal. Some of the most beautiful, and unusual, locations in Hannibal will open their doors and share their history and stories with you. Visit mansions on Millionaires’ Row in the Central Park Historic District, Victorian-era buildings in the Main Street and Broadway historic districts, and unique homes tucked around the bluffs surrounding downtown. Homeowners and caretakers will greet you, and there will be plenty of photo opportunities for Steampunkers in costume.

Mark Twain Riverboat. Photo by Steve Terry

Time Traveler’s Ball

Step back 150 years to the genteel days of Antebellum Hannibal for an elegant cotillion aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat. Dance the night away to the musical stylings of Miss Jubilee as they inject their unique variety of authentic hot jazz, swing and rhythm and blues. Step outside the Victorian ballroom onto one of the two levels of open-air decks and experience the majesty of cruising the mighty Mississippi River under the stars. The Mark Twain is a replica of the old steamboats with decorative smokestacks, two levels of open-air decks, an enclosed indoor Victorian ballroom featuring a gaslight bar and an authentic, steam-powered calliope to sing you a tune. 


Main Street Parade

The fun begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, with the Big River Steampunk Main Street Parade and Opening Ceremonies. The parade begins at Central Park at 4th and Broadway and will make its grand promenade down Main Street, featuring the cast of characters who will appear throughout the weekend’s festivities. If you’re decked out in your Steampunk finery, feel free join the parade.

Immediately after the parade, the cortege of Queen Victoria will make its way to the Main Street Stage where Her Royal Highness will welcome all to the festival’s opening ceremonies. A trumpet fanfare and special appearances by dignitaries will signal the beginning of the festivities.

Full-immersion cosplay

Step back in time and become a part of living history at the Big River Steampunk Festival. With the backdrop of the historic 1840s to 1890s buildings on Hannibal’s Main Street, the Victorian mansions of Millionaires’ Row and the churning waters of the mighty Mississippi, you can immerse yourself into your Steampunk persona and live the life of Hannibal’s 19th century Gilded Age. 

Cosplay is free to all participants. The 2017 Big River Steampunk Festival Guide, available free to festival-goers, will be your roadmap with hints, clues and instructions for the people to see, places to be and events that will propel you through your cosplay experience. Prizes, give-aways and more await you in historic downtown Hannibal.

Main Street entertainment stage

Big River Steampunk Festival will feature an array of entertainment directly on Main Street, made pedestrian-only during the festival. Comedians, jugglers, escape artists, rowdy pirates, singers, musicians, dancers and more will thrill and delight audiences of all ages. The Main Street stage also will be the location of daily costume contest finals, the facial hair contest and other events. The Main Street stage is sponsored by LaBinnah Bistro, 207 N. Fifth St.

The Great Midway

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Great Midway, located in Kiwanis Park on the Mississippi riverfront.

Here you will find the 50-plus vendors from around the country with Steampunk costumes, accessories, hats and goggles, books, music, artwork and more. Food and refreshing beverages will be available. 

The Great Midway will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.

Costume contests

One of the most popular events of the Big River Steampunk Festival is the costume contest, and this year, a contest will be held each of the three days of the festival.

Contestants will “walk the red carpet” during the preliminary round at Finn’s Food & Spirits starting at 11 a.m. daily. Twelve finalists will then gather on the Main Street stage where the daily winner will be announced and awarded the 2017 Big River costume contest winner badge and $100 in Big River Fun Money to be redeemed at Great Midway merchant booths. The free contest is open to everyone, and is sponsored by Mississippi Marketplace, 217 N. Main St.

Facial hair contest

Do you have a special set of whiskers, a well-waxed mustache or amazing mutton chops? Show off your look during the festival’s free facial hair contest on Sunday, Sept. 3; it is sponsored by the Gallery Hair Salon, 220 S. Fifth St.

Seminars and workshops

Panelists and performers will discuss everything Steampunk at two locations throughout the festival — Creative Exchange at the Great Midway in Kiwanis Park and Planter’s Barn Theater, the former livestock barn (c. 1849) of the Old Planter’s Hotel, 319 N. Main St. The schedule for the seminars, panels, workshops and make-and-take items may be found in the Festival Guide at BigRiverSteampunkFestival.com.

Airship Village

The 2017 Big River Steampunk Festival is proud to invite your
Steampunk group to pull into port at the Airship Village.

Reserve your free space and set up a docking bay — tent or other pavilion — so your airship crew has a place to relax, meet up, regroup, party and enjoy the festivities. This is a chance to showcase your best Steampunk look by decorating your docking bay. A medal will be issued to airship crew members with the most outstanding docking bay. 

Splendid teapot racing

Splendid teapot racing is a sport that began in New Zealand, and is spreading around the world. It is an obstacle course of candlesticks, ramps and a gateway that must be traversed using a remote-controlled teapot. Make your own RC teapot racer; prizes and badges will be awarded to the winners, with a special award for the most creative racer, and you can even bribe judges to help your chances of winning. Host is Lisa Rooney of Tallahassee, Fla. The course will be found on Main Street with races held both Saturday and Sunday.

Nerf dueling

R.U.S.T. Steampunk Society of Galesburg, Ill., again will host the Big River Steampunk Festival Nerf Dueling Competition. In a re-creation of a 19th century duel, contestants will use Steampunk weaponry repurposed from Nerf guns, and the foam darts will render contestants eliminated yet in no way harmed.

For each contest, duelists stand back-to-back using the specially crafted pistols. At the drop of a lady’s handkerchief, they will advance seven paces, turn and shoot. If an opponent is hit by a dart, he or she is eliminated. If both are hit, or if both miss, a rematch will commence. If still neither manages to hit their marks, or if both are hit, the match shall be decided by rock/paper/scissors contest.

Registration for participants is a $1 donation to the R.U.S.T. Society; there is no charge to spectators. Duel schedules will be available in the 2017 Big River Steampunk Festival Guide, available free at the festival.

Tea dueling

In February 2012 the American Society of Tea Dueling introduced this competitive sport at AnachroCon in Atlanta, although Tea Dueling has been practiced in the United Kingdom for quite some time.

Tea dueling is the art of dunking a tea biscuit (known as a cookie in the United States) into a “cup of brown joy,” soaking it for five seconds, and then lifting it into one’s mouth for a clean “nom” (as in “nom-nom-nom”) — all without dripping tea, losing biscuit fragments into the tea or on the table and doing so after your fellow duelist.

Hosted by Dr. Phineas T. Kastle from Las Vegas, Tea Dueling champion, the event is free for both those who duel and those who witness.

Parasol dueling

New to the festival is parasol dueling, originated by Maxwell MacDonald-Smythe (Kevin Jepson) and Madame Saffron (Jayne Barnard) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Those who participate will learn the art of the “plant,” the “snub” and the “twirl” in an effort to outfox opponents. Instructions will be given by host Melinda Kaye of Springfield, Ill.

Photography Contest

If you capture a great moment at the 2017 Big River Steampunk Festival, email the image to: Info@BigRiverSteampunkFestival.com. The best-in-show winner will receive two all-access passes to the 2018 Big River Steampunk Festival.

Entries must be received no later than midnight Monday, Sept. 4. Three finalists will be chosen from photographs taken each day of the festival — Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Of the nine finalists, best in show will be chosen and announced on the Big River Steampunk Festival Facebook page no later than Wednesday, Sept. 6.

‘The Flickers’ Film Series

Join host Jorg Rochlitzer as he takes you back in time to the old hand-cranked days of “The Flickers,” early silent films projected with an authentic, period cinematograph. Jorg and his partner, Michael DeMar, are the duo behind DeRo Cinematography and are dedicated to “bringing back the golden days of silent films and period photography.” Films will be shown at Bluff City Theater, 212 Broadway. 

Ride a Penny Farthing

Prof. Jefferson Parker of Wichita, Kan., again will bring his penny farthing bicycle to Big River Steampunk Festival, riding throughout the festival. He will show you how to climb aboard — a great photo opportunity for your cosplay experience.

Steampunk open gaming

An array of Steampunk-themed gaming stations will be available at Java Jive, 211 N. Main St., for open gaming with your hosts, the Iowa Steamies Airship Horus.

For more information about events, including locations and schedules, please refer to the free Big River Steampunk Festival guide or BigRiverSteampunkFestival.com.  

— By Lisa Marks


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By Kelly Wilson 05 Dec, 2017
The Historic Hannibal Marketing Council again will present the Victorian Festival of Christmas, a month-long celebration that will kick off Saturday, Nov. 25, and run through Christmas Eve, Sunday, Dec. 24.
Now in its fourth year, the festival celebrates the magic and wonder of Christmas in cozy, decorated, family-owned shops and restaurants. The sounds of carolers strolling the streets, bells from a horse-drawn wagon ride and warm greetings will take you back in time to an authentic and genuine Christmas.

Here is a preview of what you can expect throughout the 2017 Victorian Festival of Christmas:
• Pictures with Santa Claus
• Holiday horse-and-wagon rides
• Magical holiday decorations throughout downtown
• A children’s stocking-decorating contest
• House-decorating contest.

Here is a sampling of events planned for Victorian Festival of Christmas:
• Saturday, Nov. 25: Small Business Saturday and Christmas tree-lighting ceremony
• Saturday, Dec. 2: Jaycees Christmas parade and Hannibal Elementary School Carolers
• Saturday, Dec. 9: Living Windows displays throughout downtown, Babes in Toyland parade and Polar Express.
• Saturday, Dec. 16: Holiday open house and holiday historic homes tour
• Saturday, Dec. 23: Hat parade
Updates and more information about various events and locations are available at historichannibalmo.com/christmas.
By Kelly Wilson 05 Dec, 2017
Miss Hannibal and Miss Mark Twain scholarship pageants will be 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Hannibal High School Auditorium, 4500 McMasters Ave.

The two pageants are for contestants ages 13 to 24.

Thousands of dollars in scholarships and awards from local colleges and merchants will be presented to young women in the local area. The two winners and two Outstanding Teen winners will go on to compete in the Miss Missouri Pageant in June in Mexico, Mo., with the chance to move on to Miss America — the largest scholarships program for young women.

Jennifer Davis, Miss Missouri and first runner-up to Miss America, also will appear at the December pageants along with the four reigning queens — Miss Hannibal Leah Rawlings, Miss Mark Twain Ashley Monasmith, Hannibal Outstanding Teen Ashley Krueger and Mark Twain Outstanding Teen Kierston Holstine.

Master of ceremonies will be David Almelotti of KHQA TV.

More information is available by calling Barbara Stewart at 573-221-5414 or Rita Nelson at 217-406-9986.
By Kelly Wilson 05 Dec, 2017
The holiday season may not be so joyful for those who have lost a family member or close friend.

To help make the holidays a little easier, the James O’Donnell Funeral Home will host its annual Candlelight Memorial
Service at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at the home, 302 S. Fifth St. The free service is open to everyone, not just families served by the funeral home.

At the candlelight ceremony, each loved one’s name will be read and the individual will be recognized with a keepsake ornament provided by the funeral home.

The Rev. Mike Quinn of Holy Family Catholic Church, Hannibal, and the Rev. Tim Goodman of Clover Road Christian Church, Hannibal, will lead the service. Clover Road Christian Church will provide music. Reservations may be made by calling 573-221-8188.

More information is available by calling the home at 573-221-8188 or visiting jamesodonnellfuneralhome.com.
By Kelly Wilson 05 Dec, 2017
Seven-time Emmy Award winner Ed Asner will bring his one-man comedic stage reading to Hannibal in January, courtesy of Bluff City Theater and Hannibal Regional Healthcare System.

Called “A Man and His Prostate,” the play puts a decidedly funny spin on what is in reality a potentially tragic situation.

Written by Asner’s longtime friend and collaborator, Ed Weinberger — nine-time Emmy nominee and winner of the Outstanding Comedy Series award for his work on “Taxi” — this is based on a true story of a man who “discovered his inner self in more ways than one.”

Best known for his masterful portrayal of Lou Grant, first as Mary Tyler Moore’s boss on her eponymous show, then in the dramatic spin-off of his own, “The Lou Grant Show,” Asner has been touring the production across America for over a year with stops on both coasts and many cities in-between.

“That he has chosen America’s Hometown for an exclusive performance speaks volumes about how Hannibal is coming into its own as a significant theater center,” Bluff City Theater Executive Director Joe Anderson said.

Hannibal became the location for the first Missouri performance of “A Man and His Prostate” after Anderson responded to an enquiry from Asner’s daughter and manager, Liza.

“We receive a large number of proposals from writers, performers and producers each year,” Anderson said. “As soon as I received this one, I knew we wanted to book the show. Ed Asner was an icon to my generation and is one of the truly great actors from the Golden Age of TV.

“At age 88, Ed Asner is a remarkable example of how vibrant today’s seniors can be. He delivers this show with a skilled comedic timing that leaves audiences in tears from laughing.

“Obviously, our 90-seat theater was not large enough for a production of this importance so we’re glad that Hannibal High School has a great performing space available to the community. At 810 seats, it’s quite spacious, but still intimate enough for a one-man show to succeed,” Anderson said.

Described by critics as “not just a play, but a public service in a comedy format,” “A Man and His Prostate” takes an unflinchingly serious look at a disease that afflicts nearly a quarter of a million American men every year. That’s what brought Hannibal Regional Health System to the table as a sponsor. Over 27,000 American men die each year from prostate cancer, and it’s a disease that is treatable, even curable, when diagnosed early. Yet, men are often reluctant to admit to, let alone discuss, their symptoms, which delays treatment, sometimes fatally.

According to experts, it’s often the woman in a relationship who recognizes the symptoms and pushes her husband or partner to seek medical advice. A production like this has the ability to open men and women up to talking about the problem, in much the same way other plays have drawn attention to women’s health issues.
The combination of Weinberger’s writing and Asner’s talent makes for 90 minutes of pure enjoyment despite the serious subject.

More information
“A Man and His Prostate,” starring Ed Asner, will be performed Jan. 13 at Hannibal High School Auditorium for one show only at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and range from $25 to $45. For an additional $15, audience members may participate in an after-show meet-and-greet with Asner.

Purchase tickets online at eventshannibal.com or call the box office at 573-719-3226.
By Kelly Wilson 05 Dec, 2017
Winners of the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department’s Freaky Friday Halloween decorating contest were selected by Hannibal Chamber of Commerce staff.

Here are the results:
• Overall Design: 2715 Chestnut St.
• Scariest: 400 Country Club Drive
• Most Creative: 908 Park Ave.

Winners received a prize donated by FACT — Families and Communities Together — and a yard sign.

Photos of the houses may be seen on the Parks & Recreation Facebook page.
By Kelly Wilson 05 Dec, 2017
Mary Frances Quinlin has repeatedly turned to Hannibal Regional to provide her with excellent medical care. Why does she continually put her trust in their clinical expertise? For Mary Frances, it’s because she’s been part of their team as a member of the Auxiliary since before St. Elizabeth Hospital and Levering Hospital merged to become what is now known as Hannibal Regional.

“I was a member of Levering Auxiliary, and I got to be part of the development of Hannibal Regional,” Mary Frances said.

“The team at Hannibal Regional is an extension of my family. At Hannibal Regional you’re surrounded by loving and caring people who are great at what they do. There is no reason to leave the area for expert care.”

Not only does Mary Frances choose to receive medical care at Hannibal Regional, she has been a longtime member of

Hannibal Regional Auxiliary, which allows her to support her community.
“Volunteering has blessed my life beyond all measure and has been such a wonderful experience — and still is,” Mary Frances said. “It truly is a good feeling to know you are part of something successful and can take pride in knowing so many goals have been achieved.”

Mary Frances has been a patient at Hannibal Regional Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit and was impressed with the high-quality, compassionate care she received.

“When it was time for me to go home, they gave me a certificate that my caregivers signed with well wishes” says Mary Frances. “It was a sweet gesture and that kind of care is hard to find, but it is the kind of care you find throughout Hannibal Regional.”
By Kelly Wilson 05 Dec, 2017
Most coffee and tea lovers own that special cup that makes their first sip on a quiet morning absolutely satisfying.

Meet Naomi Peterson, the Alliance Art Gallery’s December guest artist, who invites everyone into her deep connection between environment, history, culture and beauty through her ceramic cups.

“I am drawn to nostalgic imagery,” she said. As a child growing up in Quincy, Ill., her world revolved around humidity, cicadas, bluegill fish, dogwood blossoms and ginko leaves. Today, she lives in Laramie, Wyo., in a dry desert-like environment with trout, sagebrush and cacti.

“As we go through life many factors influence us,” she said. “We are imprinted by internal and external influences that shape and change us. I am interested in the interactions between people and their environment — how we react and how that relationship has a hand in shaping our perception, personality and culture.”

Indeed, her ceramic cups invite the holder to reflect upon how we view our world and change.

“I’ve looked at the wildlife from Illinois and Wyoming and thought about how those differences make an impact on people,” she said.

She added, “We look back on childhood and remember things that surrounded us that we never really noticed, only to miss them when we move or travel.” In her case, she keenly feels the environmental influences on her life, internal and external, as she transitioned from a John Woods associate degree in green, tree-lined Illinois to the brown and gold mountainous landscape she experienced while working for a bachelor of fine arts degree in Wyoming.

In addition to a geographical transition, in order to graduate, she had to diversify from her preferred medium, painting.

She chose ceramics and never looked back.

“My aim is to integrate painting and drawing more with ceramics. I love the melding of different medias. It gives more personality to the piece.”

True. Just as a symphony needs silence (negative space) between notes, Peterson’s ceramic cups offer a quiet stillness.

The image — whether influenced by Illinois or Wyoming — allows us to hold in our hands a craft, an art, that began centuries before us and will continue centuries after us. A cup, filled with beauty and drink, gently coaxes us into our day.
By Kelly Wilson 05 Dec, 2017
At 16, Joe Noonan was too young to understand why the upstairs of the two buildings his parents purchased downtown was laid out the way it was. There were 15 small bedrooms with a steel bed spring in each one, and Noonan wanted to know why.

One day, he saw the elderly neighbor who had lived next-door for decades, and he asked about the rooms and beds.

“The guy laughed and said, ‘Son, that used to be a whore house,’ ” Noonan recalls, chuckling at the memory. “I was like,
‘Oh, I didn’t know.’ So finding that out was interesting.”

That utilization of the current Ole Planters Restaurant, 316 N. Main St., is one of many before Noonan’s parents, John and Betty Noonan, purchased and opened the restaurant in 1976. In the years since, Noonan has come to know the entire history of the building, and he’s adding to that historic narrative by remodeling the upstairs of the restaurant into residential apartment space for his family.

From a general store to restaurant
The building that houses Ole Planters Restaurant was built in 1836 and was originally two separate commercial spaces.

If facing the restaurant, the business on the left was a general store, and the business on the right was a men’s and women’s tailoring shop. The couple who owned the general store also owned the tailoring business, and they lived above both properties.

For several years after those initial businesses shuttered, there were retail stores in the space, and saloons and dance halls occupied it, also.

However, all business in the building halted after the 1973 flood destroyed it and other downtown buildings. The following year, a group of residents concerned about the downtown’s historic preservation formed the Historic Hannibal organization. They purchased 316 N. Main St. and other buildings for $1 and extensively renovated the properties to their original historic appearance.

Family-run for 42 years
In the 1970s, the Noonan family moved from Texas to Missouri to be near Betty’s elderly mother, who lived in Shelbina.

“My father had big parties in Texas, traditional Texas barbecues, gourmet meals, that kind of thing. And he worked as a traveling apparel salesman, so he got recipes from all of these different ladies,” Noonan said. “He was basically the internet of today because he was trading recipes, and then on weekends he worked as a sous chef at the local country club.”

John took those experiences and started Ole Planters Restaurant in 1976, which he named after the former Planters hotel across the street that was torn down in the ’60s.

“We started small and worked our way up. We had this (first) section, then two years later we got this (second adjoining) section,” Noonan explained. “We started as basic as basic can be with two electric home stoves.”

At first when ordering at Ole Planters, customers ordered their meal at a counter, took a number, then their meal was brought out to them. The restaurant switched to table service after being open for about six years. The original menu from those first several years still hangs inside of the restaurant.

After Noonan’s parents died, he and his brother, Jack, took over the business. Today Jack is semiretired from running it, and Joe does all of the cooking, using his parents’ same recipes.

“My mother is the one who taught me to make pies, and I’ve taught my kids how to make them,” Noonan said. “I don’t even have to tell them how much to put in. They just know it. It’s nice to have them involved a little bit.”

One of the things Noonan is pleased to say is that Ole Planters has served a meal to every Democratic president or presidential hopeful since Jimmy Carter — either in the restaurant itself or by taking the dish to their bus.

“The only one we weren’t able to serve was (Barack) Obama, who didn’t come to downtown Hannibal,” he said.

But Noonan’s proudest moments from running the restaurant over the years are when people try the family’s pies.

“The thing I get a kick out of is when someone eats a pie like gooseberry or strawberry rhubarb and they say to me, ‘Thank you. That reminded me of my grandmother,’ ” he said. “Giving them their memory back (of their grandparent’s baking) is something I feel proud about.”

— By Ashley Szatala
By Kelly Wilson 05 Dec, 2017
Members of the Mark Twain Chorale are offering an evening of peace and harmony during what can be a chaotic holiday season.

The 57th annual Mark Twain Chorale Christmas Concert will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec . 2, at the Parker Theatre in the Roland Fine Arts Building on the Hannibal-LaGrange University campus.

The chorale is under the direction of Ben Kendall.

Joining the chorale this year will be the Hannibal Area String Orchestra, under the direction of John Ferguson, which will present “Christmas Around the World.”

The evening will finish with the two groups performing together.

The concert is free, and a freewill offering will be accepted.

For information contact, Jim Dewey at 217-242-9220 or jimbacca74@yahoo.com.
By Kelly Wilson 05 Dec, 2017
A crisp fall day, along with entertainment and artistry, greeted visitors to the Pumpkin Path at Hannibal’s Nipper Park during the fifth annual Pumpkins in the Park, sponsored by Hannibal Parks & Recreation.

The Pirate Pride singers, a group of fourth- and fifth-grade students from Eugene Field School, performed, led by Teresa Paszkiet.

Prizes were donated by SC Data Center.

Here are winners in the youth category:    
• Spooky: Lilly Houghton, first; Andrew Clark, second; Autumn Seaman, third.
• Artistic: Kameil Crane, first; Tenay Griffith, second; Tyler Clark, third.
• Silly: Camron Story, first; Coleton Hall, second; Amara Coffey, third.

Here are winners in the adult category:
• Spooky: Josephine Crane.
• Artistic: Andrea Altiser.
• Silly: Claudia Nichols.
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