"Mark Twain contributes liberally to the support of the Hartford base ball club," the Sporting News said in 1886.
The tradition continues on Saturday, June 9, when a well-loved Hartford institution, Tom Sawyer Day at The Mark Twain House & Museum, continues with the theme "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."
The free family event will run from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Some of the thrills and chills:
-- A treasure hunt for Mark Twain's umbrella, carried off by a small boy at a Hartford Dark Blues game in 1874. "I will pay $5 for the return of that umbrella in good condition to my home on Farmington avenue," Twain announced in the Hartford Courant the next day. "I do not want the boy (in an active state) but will pay two hundred dollars for his remains."
-- A dunk tank with Mark Twain and other illustrious figures.
-- The museum's neighbor and frequent collaborator, the Hartford Children's Theatre, will perform the beloved baseball narrative poem "Casey at the Bat" and do a min-improv show along with Hartford's famed Sea Tea Improv troupe.
-- Rocky, the New Britain Rock Cats mascot, pays a visit!
-- Bridgeport's famed Beardsley Zoo will provide more mascots, in the form of visiting beasts and birdies.
-- Joe Barney the clown ... who promises to make a minimum of one baseball joke.
-- The Pittsburgh Pirates -- wait, I think those are real pirates!
-- A trio of musical acts: Dan Stevens, blues on guitar and keyboard; the bluegrass/country quartet Horizon Blue; and Nina Romanenko and the Quarry Cats, who play Old-Timey music, blues and folk. (All this music is thanks to the Evelyn W. Preston Memorial Trust.)
-- Author and Hartford Courant parenting columnist Teresa Pelham reads from her new children's book, Roxie's Forever Home, the true story of a dog's journey from the streets of Tennessee to Farmington.
-- Baseball crafts: Make a pennant to wave furiously for your team! Exercise your drawing skills to make your own baseball cards -- sure to become a valuable collectors' item!
-- Fox 61 weather guru Joe Furey will meet and greet his many meteorological fans.
-- Ball players will run drills on the spacious Mark Twain House lawn
-- ...and finally, a showing of the 1995 film A Kid in King Arthur's Court. In the middle of a ballgame, an earthquake sends a young California boy into the past. There he teaches King Arthur's court how to use inline skates and other useful tricks and becomes a hero. The movie gives a nod, of course, to time-travel author extraordinaire Mark Twain's AConnecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
Meanwhile, across the lawn at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin will be celebrating her 201st birthday with a Community Free Day -- free Stowe House admission, a cake, carriage rides, a drum circle, Civil War songs, a cupcake break, Woody's hot dogs, crafts, music, and the Great Emancipator himself, Abraham Lincoln, on hand. For detail, go to www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.com.
Tom Sawyer Day at The Mark Twain House & Museum is a free event. Sponsors of Tom Sawyer Day are The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation and the Greater Hartford Arts Council.
The Mark Twain House & Museum (www.marktwainhouse.org) has restored the author's Hartford, Connecticut, home, where Samuel L. Clemens and his family lived from 1874 to 1891.
Twain wrote his most important works during the years he lived there, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and AConnecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
In addition to providing tours of Twain's restored home, a National Historic Landmark, the institution offers activities and educational programs that illuminate Twain's literary legacy and provide information about his life and times.
The house and museum at 351 Farmington Ave. are open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5:30 p.m. For more information, call 860-247-0998 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 860-247-0998 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or visit www.marktwainhouse.org.
Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from theConnecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and the Greater Hartford Arts Council.