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What’s the Difference Between the Downtown Hannibal Art Fair, Twain on Main, and the Folklife Festival?

Follklife Festival - Hannibal, MIssouri
Kurt Parsons

This weekend the 37th annual Autumn Historic Folklife Festival will take place in America’s Hometown. Twain on Main was held on Memorial Day Weekend, and the Downtown Hannibal Art Fair is a summertime festival that draws visitors from around the region to Main Street.

What is the difference between these festivals? Michael Gaines, Executive Director of the Hannibal Arts Council, acknowledged that all three events have similarities, but he points out that each festival is different, and they all have their own individual focuses.

The Downtown Hannibal Art Fair is a juried art fair, presented by the group Renaissance Hannibal, with its primary focus being fine art. The Downtown Hannibal Arts Fair accepts applications for artists working in the following categories: painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, weaving, folk art, jewelry, fiber, wood, baskets, clay, glass, paper and leather.

The Historic Hannibal Marketing Council presents Twain on Main as a celebration of Mark Twain, his literary works, and the cultural and historical heritage of Hannibal. The festival is more craft-focused than the Downtown Hannibal Arts fair, and also includes entertainment, events, specialty vendors, and food vendors.

The Autumn Historic Folklife Festival, sponsored by the Hannibal Arts Council, is an 1800s-themed festival that includes not only fine artists, but also traditional arts and fine craft. According the, “Folklife features artists, artisans, and craftsmen demonstrating and selling historic crafts, traditional arts, fine arts and crafts, street musicians playing traditional tunes, food cooked on wood stoves, cider fresh from the apple press, a children’s area and a warm atmosphere for everyone.”

Hours for this weekend’s Folklife Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

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