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Opinion: Venue smenue, Libertyfest will be fun despite new location

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Cape Libertyfest and Regional Air Festival has gotten some flak lately. It seems like no matter what they do people get mad. The poor kids can't win for losing.

They joined forces and announced the move to Cape Girardeau to incorporate downtown and to save money. People complained about parking and the smaller number of traditional air show attractions. And how are you going to have an air show without an airport?

Well, citing safety reasons and the flooding Mississippi River, officials moved the whole shebang back down to the airport. Now people have complained that it's in the open and too hot. Now they have to drive there.

I haven't ever been to the air show. I stated before that I stayed in Cape Girardeau last year for fireworks and a barbecue, but I'll venture the guess that going to the air show has always been hot and you've always had to drive.

But this year it's free! The whole thing is still free, and organizers have scheduled shuttles to get you down there and bring you back. The rides are free and will start at 3 p.m. Pick ups will be marked with signs, but so you know: The route is Hutson's Fine Furniture downtown, Save-A-Lot on Sprigg and William streets and West Park Mall in the J.C. Penney lot near Steak 'N' Shake. They'll have two shuttles through the day and add a third that night to help cart people back.

The festival's schedule Friday afternoon and night is the same: music at 3:30, planes at 5:30, sunset at 8:30 (though that's subject to change) and fireworks at 9:15. They've got the Cape Municipal Band, the Boone Project and the Mike Renick Band performing throughout the day.

There will be vendors with food. Marla Mills at Old Towne Cape said they are working on a catering service to sell alcohol and said it would be similar to previous years with the beer tents. She said taking downtown out of the equation was tough, but Mother Nature made the decision. They couldn't shoot fireworks over the Mississippi River in its truly mighty state.

The flooding also put a damper on First Friday events downtown. The arts council decided to move its reception to the second Friday, July 11, because it figured most people would be down at the air show.

Delilah Tayloe, the arts council director, was pretty bummed. July 4 is apparently one of her top holidays and she was hoping for First Friday traffic of about 800 to 1,000 because the downtown festival plan. Several other galleries plan on doing the Second Friday thing.

The Black Door Gallery at 124 S. Spanish St. will still be celebrating in Cape Girardeau on July 4. It's having a pretty big show next month; check SE Live next week to find out more.

So as you sit down and try to hash out a game plan for our nation's 232nd birthday, give the Libertyfest and air show due consideration. I'll be there, and I'm bringing friends. We're braving the heat and the drive to meet the crowds. So when you go, come say hi to the SE Live and Southeast Missourian crew.


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