We had never been to the little town of Hannibal, Missouri, a riverboat town on the Mississippi River famous for being the boyhood home of Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain), a well known author & lecturer in the late-1800's.
The town still has a "steamboat", but it stays docked in Hannibal and takes tourists out on the river for short cruises. The paddle-wheel is just painted on the back side of the boat; from the wake, it looked like it uses a more modern engine.
The riverboat, coming back from a tour.
Main Street still has many of the beautiful old-style buildings. Each building was unique. During the summer tourist season, I've heard that people dress up as Mark Twain and characters from his books to explain the history: Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Becky Thatcher...
We expected some sort of celebration for Labor Day weekend (the unofficial end of summer), and we weren't disappointed!
The parade started with a vintage fire engine.
Followed by this beautifully restored car.
Then things started to get weird...
It turns out, this was Hannibal's 3rd annual Steampunk Festival. "Steampunk" seems to be how modern day people think people in the 1800's envisioned the future - lots of gears, everything driven by steam, personal jet packs, strange vehicles. (Think of descriptions from the futuristic books by H.G. Wells & Jules Verne.)
We're still not sure what a "furry" (back row, 2nd from right) was doing at a Steampunk Festival, but everyone was welcome!
Aside from many wearing similar goggles, every costume was unique.
Near the end of the parade H.R.H. Queen Victoria was riding her mobile throne!
And pulling up the rear, the beginnings of an airship.
Queen Victoria officially opened the festival.
Many of the costumes were quite elaborate.
We don't know what the backpack was for but it was very ornate. It was either her personal time machine or it held her beer.. hehe.
A non-steampunk couple dressed appropriately for the Victorian era. The man was riding the penny-farthing (bicycle) and letting some little kids try it.
This was one of the performers. The instrument is called a hurdy-gurdy, and even though it's a stringed instrument, has a sound similar to bagpipes when the crank is turned.
Another person at the festival. We don't know whether she was a performer, or just dressed that way for fun. The lizard clinging to the front of her dress is real.
Could he fly? The boy has a personal flying machine.
This woman is using an old (ca. 1905) sock knitting machine. Load the yarn, turn the crank, and out comes a sock. Originally from Michigan, she said the market for heavy, woolen socks that are good at -75 deg. F, don't sell all that well in Missouri.
A mysterious "police box" in the middle of Main Street, which looks suspiciously like Dr. Who's Tardis.
This vendor used an old stereo camera to make & sell old-fashioned 3-D tintypes - photos printed on tin plates, rather than paper. The dual photos are viewed with an old-fashioned stereoscope to see them in 3-D (a technology that is being revived for 3-D video with Samsung VR & Google Cardboard.)
A rather interesting spectator. Note the tail.
She was also wearing a dog mask, and a t-shirt that read "People Against Humanity".
What do you think this machine is? Some old technology - in this case, a Linotype machine, used in the printing industry.
It was hot, so we stopped in a vintage fountain shop for some ice cream. See something heart shape there?
Main Street in Hannibal.
If you go, I highly recommend the chocolatier near the end of the block.
After leaving Hannibal, we stopped at Mark Twain State Park, near Florida, MO.
Mark Twain's boyhood home. The house was moved to the park, then the visitor center/museum building was built around it.
The museum houses furniture & other belongs of Twain's, including this carriage.
The park was having an "open house" for the Labor Day weekend. In one area, they had a spot to try archery, slingshots, and kayaking - all free! SinE tried archery for the first time and turned out to be quite good with a bow.
I learned that I'm probably more of a danger to myself than whatever I'm shooting at with a slingshot.
Kayaking on the Mark Twain Lake looked like fun, but many people were waiting, it was hot, and they only had 5 kayaks, so we didn't try these.
This is the Clarence Cannon Dam on the east of lake.
Wrote by Steve