Hannibal is preparing for its biggest event of the year. National Tom Sawyer Days returns on July 3 and goes through July 6. 

On Friday, June 28, the City of Hannibal had to re-install all five floodgates, due to rising waters on the Mississippi, but disruption to the downtown area is expected to be minimal. All National Tom Sawyer Days activities will proceed as planned.

In addition, downtown businesses remain open, including the Mark Twain Riverboat. The riverboat is still operating its full schedule: Sightseeing cruises at 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., and dinner cruises at 6:30 p.m., seven days a week. The only change is that passengers will need to board from the Mark Twain Riverboat's "high water landing" on River Road. Signs pointing visitors to the riverboat's temporary location are easily found all around the downtown area.

Gail Bryant, with the Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau, says that the river level will not affect visitors' enjoyment of America's Hometown. "The river level has nothing to do with all the great things Hannibal has to offer. We have history, family attractions, live performances, scenic tours, unique craftsman and artisans, a charming historic downtown, and an American icon other towns would love to lay claim to. Mark Twain put Hannibal on the map over 150 years ago, and the creativity and genius that mark his works and make him relevant today can still be found in our town. As always, we encourage people to visit our website at VisitHannibal.com to check out all the events we have throughout the year, as well as plan their trip. We are always happy to answer any questions visitors may have and we take dozens of calls daily during the summer from visitors wanting vacation information. Our main recommendation for the upcoming July 4 Holiday is to make sure to reserve your hotel reservation, because our hotels always fill up!"

So far, the only cancellation that has been confirmed, due to the rising waters, is the visit of the American Queen, which is not traveling upriver. The American Queen was scheduled to dock in Hannibal on July 7 and 19.

Kurt Parsons