Hannibal Jaycees member goes full circle at National Tom Sawyer Days

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Claudia Hollister poses with a member of the Jon Bon Jovi tribute band from last year's National Tom Sawyer Days. | Contributed photo

HANNIBAL, MO. – When Claudia Hollister sees the start of National Tom Sawyer Days in Hannibal, she sees her childhood.

The Hannibal Fourth of July festivities are a family tradition for Hollister, the second vice president for press and media relations for the Hannibal Jaycees. For her family, it was more than a drive downtown or a walk to the carnival. They traveled each year from Chicago attend.

Her family moved to Hannibal around 2003.

Hollister sought out membership for Jaycees as soon as she became of age so she could help with National Tom Sawyer Days. She has enjoyed watching everything come together.

“I really get a deep dive into everything that needs to be done so everyone can enjoy themselves,” she said. “It feels so good to get involved and see behind the scenes what it takes to put it on.”

Hollister said although many family members who first brought her to National Tom Sawyer Days no longer attend due to age, she now gets to introducing the next generation to fence painting, frog jumping and, of course, the carnival.

“I have kids now, and I try to get them involved in everything, and they absolutely enjoy it,” she said.

She is glad to be part of the Hannibal Jaycees. This year she is excited to kick back with the community to enjoy the music at Tanyard Gardens.

“Watching everyone enjoy themselves and to see positive reviews just makes me feel so good,” she said. “It makes me feel like as a Jaycee we are doing the community right by putting all of these events on.”

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