Nationally, this Saturday after Thanksgiving is known as Small Business Saturday, encouraging shoppers to do their holiday shopping at the many small businesses in their communities.

Hannibal merchants have joined that promotion in the past, but the Hannibal Historic Marketing Council and the Chamber of Commerce realized that shoppers needed a more compelling reason to come to downtown Hannibal today to shop.

So, today is the first Victorian Festival of Christmas in Historic Downtown Hannibal.

According the Chamber Executive Director McKenzie Disselhorst, the concept of a Victorian Christmas Festival in Hannibal was a natural.

Along with specials in the various businesses downtown, festival activities include horse-drawn wagon rides, a snowball toss, Santa in the Garden, a Downton Abbey Tea at the Mark Twain Museum, the lighting of Historic Downtown, a Spirit of Christmas Past Pub Crawl, and a performance of Richard Garey’s A Shepherd’s Tale.