Sunday, September 11, 2016

Scenes from Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, Missouri

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Hannibal is a small town on the banks of the Mississippi River, that has preserved its Victorian era buildings and charm, along with paying tribute to its most popular son of that era, Mark Twain. It is the perfect setting for a steampunk festival, since even on non-festival days a river boat gives tours of the Mississippi river, there are cave tours of the cave described in the book Tom Sawyer,  the beautifully restored downtown has abundant antiquing opportunities, a brick street of houses significant to the life of Mark Twain runs perpendicular to Main Street, and trains carrying coal roll through town.

The view from Lover's Leap:
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A small flower garden sits atop a hill, overlooking the river.
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The Hannibal History Museum is free and is the center of operations for Big River Steampunk Festival.
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Touring the museums on Friday, before the festival began on Saturday.
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Directly across the street from the Hannibal History Museum, is the Mark Twain History Museum, which does charge an entrance fee, but is full of fun, interactive displays.

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We chose to camp just a little ways outside of town at the Mark Twain Cave Campground, in the tiny community of Cave Hollow.
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I never met the cat, but all the people I met, including the guests, were helpful and friendly.

Camping was mostly chosen as a way of saving money (four nights in a site with electricity was only $108). We didn't spend much time in camp and mostly lived on cold food until our final night, because I didn't want to go into town smelling like smoke, but camping was a good decision. The weather was nice, there were almost no mosquitoes, the showers were hot, and the WiFi was reliable.

While we were gone, hurricane Hermine struck Tallahassee, knocking out all of the power for several days and making some streets impassable, due to fallen trees. We had far more amenities in the campground than DH had at home.

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We were at the festival to run teapot racing both Saturday and Sunday and I will start posting featured teapot racers from those races this coming Tuesday.

Big River Steampunk Festival provided us with two tents and two tables right next to the Main Street stage, so we got lots of attention and were entertained.

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I brought some extra racers along for people to try throughout the day.

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From our spot on Main Street, we were able to watch the parade on Saturday morning.

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All day long, there were free shows and contests on the Main Street stage.

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There was even a wedding:

People watching was also fun from where we were.
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We attended two of the premium events, which happened in the evening, after we had packed away all the teapot racing gear for the day. One was STEAMAPALOOZA, a concert with Frenchy and the Punk and the Marquis of Vaudeville.

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This was in a park right on the banks of the Mississippi, on an amazing, custom built stage.

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Comedian/juggler Crazy Boy Coy preforming in between musical acts:
(Turn up the volume. The video is not very loud and he is funny.)

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The other special evening event was The Time Travelers Ball, aboard the Mark Twain River Boat.
The Steampunk Stompers put on a fantastic show and Doc Phineas, who is the life of any party he attends, sang and tap danced during a couple numbers.

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Monday, we were tourists.
We wondered around looking at vendors and took the boat tour, then completed our day with the first and only campfire of our trip.

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Tuesday morning, it was time to pack up and start homeward,

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but first, we wanted to tour the Mark Twain Cave. After packing the car, we were hot and sweaty, but it's always cool in the cave.

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We drove away from Hannibal listening to the new Steampunk Stompers CD I had purchased at the Time Travelers Ball, followed by many hours of the audio-book of Tom Sawyer.



DannyJane said...

I love your photos and am honored to be in one of them. I'd be very honored to have a full-sized version to add to my album. You can contact me on FaceBook (DIane Ullman) or email (

Simply Alexandra // My Favorite Things said...

This looks really fun, I was wondering about this festival. We know very little about Steam Punk, but we live not to far from Missouri, and had thought about trying something different. So fun to see photos and read about it. :) XO - Alexandra

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