As a nod to the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival, Hannibal's Brew Skies Music Festival is bringing in an original Woodstock performer to entertain the crowd beginning today, Friday, June 7.

Recording artist Melanie Safka takes the stage opening night at 7:30.  People of all generations know her most famous hit.  Everyone sing along!  "I've Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates, You've Got a Brand New Key..."  Here's another credit to Melanie.  Her performance at Woodstock in 1969 started the continuing practice of holding up a light to signal an encore.  At Melanie's performance, the crowd held candles.  It progressed over the years to lighters, then to flashlights, and now mobile phones.

On Saturday night, The Verve Pipe performs at 9:15.  In 1996, radio stations around the country were blasting the grooves off their top hit, "The Freshmen."  This year, the festival has expanded into Sunday, June 9th with the gates opening at noon.

This is the 3rd year for the Brew Skies Music Festival.  It's a fantastic addition to the summer lineup of events in Hannibal.  The festival has a hippie vibe with lots of tie-dye and fleets of VW's.  On Saturday, June 8 at 9:30 a.m., the VW's will parade down Hannibal's Main Street.  Check it out, and while you're there, go ahead and park, then take a shuttle to the festival at the Mark Twain Cave Campgrounds.  Parking there is limited and the shuttle will run continuously between downtown to the cave.  By the way, the Mark Twain Cave area is high and dry, unaffected by recent flooding.

Another great thing about Brew Skies is that it's family friendly.  While there's a dozen bands, plenty of beer and the area's largest public beer tasting event at the H.A.H.A. Homebrew Competition, there is also a petting zoo, pony rides and creative art taking place for the kids.

In my obviously biased opinion, the very best thing about Brew Skies is the cause it benefits:  the Hannibal Nutrition Center and its Meals on Wheels program for senior citizens.  This year is extra special as we remember the center's long-time administrator Debbie Catlett, who lost her fight with cancer earlier this year.  As a board member of H.N.C. and a blessed friend of Debbie, I'm hoping to see record-breaking proceeds.

For a full schedule of events, check out the Brew Skies Facebook page or go to

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