HANNIBAL | Children showed their creative skills and celebrated Mark Twain's 184th birthday in several ways he would have — by making unique creations, playing games with one another and enjoying favorite treats during the Annual Mark Twain Birthday Bash on Saturday, Nov. 30 at the Mark Twain Museum.
Melissa Cummins, director of marketing and community relations and Tom and Becky coordinator with the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, said the day's event brought in a steady crowd of children of all ages.Tom and Becky Ambassadors led the children in activities like making their own party hats, ornaments, beaded necklaces and bracelets, and they also played a game of musical mustaches — with the same rules as musical chairs — as Toms and Beckys joined in the fun and laughs. At the treat table, Java Jive donated gingerbread cupcakes. Tom Ambassador Jack Myers said gingerbread was one of Twain's favorite childhood desserts. Visitors were able to take a step back in time for an old-fashioned celebration as they discovered the history on display throughout the museum.
“A lot of the kids, even kids who live in Hannibal, have never really been to the museum,” Cummins said. “So this is a way to get them into the door to see what's here. Because if you think about it, down here with these exhibits, it's for any age. There's a lot of hands-on exhibits here.”
Tom and Becky Ambassadors Josiah Campbell and Tallin Sims helped children create their own colorful party hats with decorations like pipe cleaners stickers and googly eyes. Josiah enjoyed the chance to help all the kids as they made their creations.
“It's fun. It's a great experience,” he said. Tallin enjoyed the chance to interact with the visitors during the celebration, too.
“I really just look forward to being involved in my community and meeting all these kids — and helping them with more the creative side of their personality — I think it's really fun to come and see everybody and have fun with the other Toms and Beckys,” Tallin said.
Toshi and Aya Maehara and their son, Kantaro, and daughter, Hana, were excited to experience the birthday celebration and all of the history surrounding Twain's literature like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Toshi Maehara said they were visiting from a Japanese community in Chicago, and he said the novel was very popular in Japan — inspiring an animated TV series he remembered from his childhood. His children are just as enthusiastic about the story and its iconic characters today.
“It's very nice. We know him, and my son and daughter know him,” Maehara said. The family had toured Mark Twain Cave before arriving for the birthday celebration.
Becky Ambassadors Jocelyn Dorsey and Courtney Locke assisted Hana as she made her own creation with beads. Locke said it was a fun way to celebrate with all the children who visited their table, where children could make bracelets or necklaces with beads and string or mustaches to hold up to their faces.
“It was a lot of fun, we met a lot of cute, new little kids, and they're all so excited to be here and make things,” Courtney said. “And a lot asked for pictures with us, which is so much fun, because that's what we're out here to do. We have two stations — the hat-making and this one — and they're both a lot of fun.”