National Tom Sawyer Days

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Tom Sawyer Days, National

Week of July 4
Sponsored by the Hannibal, Missouri, Jaycees, the National Tom Sawyer Days celebration began in 1956 with a Tom Sawyer Fence Painting Contest and a Tom and Becky competition. Three years later, all of the events relating to the fictional character originally created by Mark Twain in his 1876 novel were combined with the traditional Fourth of July celebration in Hannibal, and Independence Day was officially proclaimed "Tom Sawyer Day." In 1961 it became a national event, and today the festival spans five days and includes a number of unique competitions.
Contestants for the fence-painting competition, who must be 10 to 13 years old, come primarily from the 10 states bordering the Mississippi River. They are judged on the authenticity of their costumes (which must be based on details from Mark Twain's book), the speed with which they can whitewash a four-by-five-foot section of fence, and the quality of their work.
The Frog Jump Competition is another of the festival's highlights, drawing up to 300 children and their pet frogs, each of whom is allowed three jumps. Competitors for the Tom and Becky competition must be eighth graders living in Hannibal, and the winners serve as goodwill ambassadors for the year.
See also Calaveras County Fair and Frog Jumping Jubilee
Hannibal Jaycees
137 Jaycee Dr.
Hannibal, MO 63401
573-221-3231; fax: 573-221-6999
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
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