Joint Veterans Council organizes festival for Fourth of July weekend

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cape Girardeau's Joint Veterans Council has announced a patriotic festival in Arena Park to be held during the Fourth of July weekend.

Events planned for July 3 and 4 will include a truck pull, demolition derby, washer tournament, fireworks and other events surrounding the festival's theme, "Celebrating America's Birthday."

Event organizer Rodger Brown said a meeting of the Joint Veterans Council was held recently to address the cancellation of Libertyfest. The annual Cape Girardeau festival was canceled this year because of the city's budget problems. Members of the joint council decided they didn't want let the holiday go by without an Independence Day celebration for the community.

"We decided if nobody else would do it, we would," Brown said. He said his veterans group, VietNow, tries to support veterans and widows and children of veterans, as well as serve the community.

Brown said the group wants the community to be able to attend and not spend a lot of money. He said many service organizations, churches and area businesses have been invited to participate in the event.

"We want to show strength in the community, so we invited everyone," he said.

The Arena Building will open to the public at noon July 3. Inside, organizations and businesses will set up booths, and food and beer stands will be on hand. At 6:30 p.m., a tribute ceremony is planned for the area's Patriot Guard Riders, followed by a truck pull at 7 p.m.

The events of July 4 will begin with a double elimination washer tournament at noon. Registration for the tournament will start at 11 a.m. Booths inside the Arena Building will also open at noon. A children's corner for watching cartoons and cooling off will be set up by the Optimist Club, with a big-screen television donated by Shivelbine's. The demolition derby will begin at 6 p.m., followed by a special patriotic tribute. A fireworks show will conclude the event after dark.

General admission tickets are available for the grandstand events for $10 at the Arena Building office, Food Giant and Port Cape. Remaining tickets will be sold at the park on the weekend of the event.

Members of the council have been selling raffle tickets to raise money for the event and are welcoming donations from the community. Brown said he hopes the raffle will help raise money to help run the event. Four prizes will be given away, including a 20-by-20 patio from the Pavestone Co., a patriotic print by Jackson artist Chad Brueckner, a new bicycle and box seats for the demolition derby and fireworks show. Raffle tickets will be sold during the event.

Donations can be directed to Rodger Brown, 334-4981, or Jim Carver, 573-382-1574.

Events elsewhere

In Jackson, celebrations begin July 4 with the Independence Day 5K Race & Walk starting at 7:30 a.m. at Healthpoint Fitness, followed by a day of events in Jackson City Park, starting with a car show at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m., "Art in the Park" gets going, along with pony rides and food vendors.

Shane Anderson, Jackson's parks and recreation director, said a section of the park will be dedicated to art displays and works in progress, and artists will be working on beads and jewelry. A blacksmith will be working iron, and art will be available for sale.

At 2 p.m., members of the local dance studio Dance Extensions are scheduled to perform. The car show wraps up at 3 p.m., and live music can be heard in the evening at the band shell. At 7 p.m., there will be a performance by Saxy Jazz Transition, followed by the municipal band at 8 p.m. The fireworks show will begin at 9:30 p.m.

Anderson said both bands will perform patriotic themed music.

In Perryville, Mo., the Chamber of Commerce will set up a fireworks stand at 3640 Highway 51 North, from June 20 to July 5.

Those who are interested can find information about other area events, or submit information on additional Independence Day events, by visiting


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