You're invited to a party!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Next Saturday, Oct. 1, the neighborhood around the Southeast Missourian building will be alive.

There will be a grand festival, celebrating 100 years of newspaper service to the community.

Among the festivities will be music, street theater, magic shows, children's games, an antique car show, carriage rides, photo exhibits, newspaper press tours, food and much more.

Throughout this week, the newspaper will be highlighting the event, and a special section on Wednesday will post the full schedule.

Many of the activities will take place on the block immediately surrounding the Missourian building, including parts of Broadway and Lorimier Street, which will be closed. Parking shuttles will run from the Show Me Center and City Hall.

Bands will perform on three stages, including the Courthouse Park gazebo, on Broadway, and in a large tent behind the Missourian.

Not all events are contained to the block, however. Shuttle buses will offer rides from the Missourian building to the new press facility at 500 William St. There, visitors will be able to see Big Blue, the $3 million newspaper press in action.

In addition, many downtown businesses are hosting their own Missourian celebration events -- with free food and discounted prices.

And area attractions like the Red House Interpretive Center and the Cape River Heritage Museum are hosting special shows.

Adding flair to the affair, more than 50 newspaper employees will be decked out in period costumes of 1904 (when the newspaper was founded) and the Roaring '20s (when the Missourian building was constructed). For me, that means turn-of-the century top hat and tails. Since I stand a towering 5 feet 7 inches tall, I'm hoping no one mistakes me for a character from the hit movie "March of the Penguins."

Ah, the things we do for love of this place!

The Missourian employees will not be the only ones in costume, however. Employees of some of the downtown businesses will be in period garb. And you, can too!

Those who come in their own costumes will be eligible for a costume contest (entrants to gather at 11:15 a.m.). And hold your hats. The winner of the family contest will receive four tickets to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball playoff game at Busch Stadium. Other prizes include gift certificates to the N'Orleans restaurant, Port Cape Girardeau, Nick's Family Restaurant and cash!

Costumes are only a small part of the day's events, but they promise to lend an ambiance to the gathering.

You certainly don't have to be in costume to enjoy the event (and we don't expect you to be). Other participatory activities include contests for former newspaper carriers (with the first 1,000 registering receiving a free commemorative baseball cap). Note: To enter this contest, you need not have carried the Missourian as a kid, but some newspaper somewhere.

Also, there will be carnival-type games. And for the kids: color stations, ring tosses, jumper rooms, rubber duck pick-ups, prize fishing and more! Plus, special appearances by Southeast Missourian Jr. mascot, Tracker.

This column is but an introduction to Saturday's event. Keep reading throughout the week! The musical performers alone are reason to attend.

So plan to join us, Saturday, Oct. 1. The event starts at 10 a.m. with a small parade and ends at 4 p.m.. We want to say, "Thanks. Thanks to all of you for your readership and support of the Southeast Missourian for 100 years! Thanks for making this area a great place to work and live. Thanks for your letters, your Speak Out calls, your announcements, your life events, which we try to share with the rest of the community. Thanks for being you."

Let's have some fun.

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian. He can be reached at jrust@semissourian.com or by calling, 573-335-6611.

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