Shoppers converge on downtown Cape Girardeau for open house event

Sunday, December 6, 2009
Christmas carols filled the chilly air on Main Street in Cape Girardeau during Old Town Cape's downtown open house Friday night. The youth group from First General Baptist Church of Jackson dressed for the holiday season and presented seasonal music for shoppers. (Kit Doyle)

Holiday cheer filled the streets of downtown Cape Girardeau on Friday night.

Children lined up for free photographs with Santa Claus while carolers ventured throughout Main Street singing tunes such as "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World."

Decorated in Christmas garlands and lights, stores welcomed hundreds of shoppers who not only sampled hot apple cider and cookies but were vying for a $1,500 shopping spree redeemable at 13 participating merchants during the annual Christmas open house. To win the prize, shoppers visited at least 10 of the 13 stores or restaurants to have their entry form stamped.

Marla Mills, director of Old Town Cape, which coordinated the event, called it a magical evening.

"I felt a lot of energy and excitement among the shoppers and merchants tonight," Mills said. "With the music, Santa, decorations and carriage rides, this event captures the holiday spirit."

Chris Casey of Cape Girardeau, who was inside the building that housed Santa and children's games, said the open house is just one of many events his family plans to attend this holiday season.

"We just enjoy getting out to a Christmas event each week," Casey said. "It's another way for us to celebrate the season."

Linda Taylor of Benton, Mo., said she always makes the 30-minute drive each year to attend the open house in what has become a Christmas tradition for herself.

"This helps me get more into the Christmas spirit," said Taylor, who was shopping inside Annie-Em's Antiques and Gifts at 40 N. Main St. "From the carolers to those inside the stores, everyone is merry."

Annie-Em's owner Karen Stephens said the open house gives the merchants a chance to shine in front of one of the most well-attended events in downtown.

"I love seeing the streets and stores filled with lots of shoppers," Stephens said. "It would be nice to see more events like this brought to downtown, which would bring in more people to our stores. People would embrace more events like this one because they see the history and charm of buildings of this area."

Suzanne Dinkens, owner of Glitz N Glamor, 1 N. Spanish St., was hopeful that the open house would entice those first-time shoppers to return another day.

"I chose to participate because I'm trying to do my part in promoting downtown," Dinkens said. "This open house can be very good for retailers. It gets people down here, and that's half the battle."


Pertinent addresses:

418 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

40 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau, MO

1 N. Spanish St., Cape Girardeau, MO

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