It was a perfect day for a party.
The weather was warm, with an occasional cooling breeze. The smell of grilling hot-dogs was tantalizing. The food was plentiful, drinks were cold.
The Southeast Missourian celebrated its 100th birthday Oct. 1, with a downtown block party outside the historic building that has housed the daily newspaper for the past 80 years.
Between 6,000 to 7,000 people came over the course of the day, estimated Tim Arbeiter, executive director of Old Town Cape.
Area bands on three stages entertained the crowd. Children played games on the Common Pleas Courthouse lawn. Antique cars parked in front and alongside the Missourian building recalled the early decades of the 20th century.
Some 40 Missourian employees and others dressed in period costumes added to the old-time feeling.
Visitors strolled around the block, pausing occasionally to tap their feet to the beat of bluegrass from the Alex Riffle Band of Poplar Bluff. Or they kept time to the march music provided by the Jerry Ford Orchestra.
Some stopped to watch the magic tricks of Bill Coomer or marveled at the stories of Jack Beaham who appeared in costume and in character as Mark Twain. Others stepped inside the Security Bank and Trust building to view the exhibit of photographs from the covers of Parade magazine over the past half century.
A few blocks away at the Red House, the Sons of the Revolution displayed all the flags of the country, one of only a few intact sets of American flags in the country.
At the Cape River Heritage Museum, children played an old-fashioned scavenger hunt and enjoyed other rustic games, while outside a mule named Ruthie Mae enjoyed the attention the visitors paid her.
Over on William Street, the newspaper opened up its printing plant on William Street to public tours.
Missourian publisher Jon Rust and his brother, Rex Rust, who is co-president of the firm, showed up in top hats and coattails for the daylong celebration.
Even the mayors of Cape Girardeau and Jackson showed up in top hats and period attire to mark the occasion.
Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson said the city and the newspaper have had a strong relationship over the years.
Jackson Mayor Paul Sander said the cities of Jackson and Cape Girardeau have become "great friends."
But a century ago, the two cities were rivals. "A hundred years ago, I'm not so sure the mayor of Jackson would have been standing on this stage," Sander said.
For some at the block party, it was a chance to recall their experiences as newspaper carriers.
R. Finley Maddox, 76, first started delivering papers in Oran, Mo., in the late 1930s. "I helped my cousin," he said.
He delivered papers on a girl's bike because he could not reach the pedals on a boy's bike, he said.
In 1940, he got his own newspaper route.
Maddox said his customers wanted their newspapers thrown onto the front porches. "You had to have a good arm," he said.
At the celebration, children and adults competed in a game to see who could toss a rolled-up newspaper with accuracy at a door.
Old Town Cape's Arbeiter, sporting a straw hat and red-and-white striped coat, smiled as he watched the festive crowd.
For Arbeiter, the centennial was more than a celebration of the newspaper's heritage. It showed off a revitalized downtown, said Arbeiter, whose organization has spearheaded redevelopment efforts.
"Cape Girardeau's downtown is alive and well," Arbeiter said.