Busy weekend in Cape means big business

Sunday, October 3, 2010
People watch the rock 'n' roll fashion show Saturday during 14th annual River City Music Festival in Cape Girardeau. Trendsetters fashioned hairstyles to go along with past five decades of fashion modeled on the catwalk. (Laura Simon)

From Wiffle ball to politics to one big downtown party, Cape Girardeau is rocking this weekend -- and all that activity means big business for the Cape Girardeau-area economy.

The River City Music Festival welcomed a few thousand partiers downtown on Water and Main streets. With 60 bands performing at 10 venues, including two outdoor stages, the music -- from blues to acoustic to country -- was nonstop Friday and Saturday nights. Mary Ramsey, director of the City of Roses Music Heritage Association, the not-for-profit that coordinates the festival, estimated Friday night attendance at about 3,000 people, or about double what the event drew on the same day last year. Organizers ran out of wristbands Friday night.

"This is very much a success," Ramsey said.

Volunteer Samantha Simmons said the goal has been to transform the festival into a communitywide event.

"Downtown is a community that we're very proud of," she said. "The businesses down here have really embraced us."

Riders progress down Main Street during the Tour de Cape bicycle event on Saturday in Cape Girardeau. Riders began at the John Boardman Pavilion and could choose from a 100 mile, 62 mile, 30 mile, and 15 mile route that took them on a scenic ride through Cape Girardeau. Funds raised from the ride benefit Mississippi Valley Therapeutic Horsemanship. (Kristin Eberts)

Downtown and just about every corner of Cape Girardeau is bustling with business, the benefit of at least a dozen events this weekend. Besides the festival, downtown welcomed the launch of the Tour de Cape and part of Cape Girardeau Heritage Day activities at the Red House Interpretive Center. The River Campus alone brought in many hundreds more between an Eagle Scout fundraiser and "Once on This Island," the musical from Southeast Missouri State University's Department of Theatre and Dance. Elsewhere, teams competed in the Wiffle Ball World Series at Sherwood Yards.

Today, U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson's old-fashioned picnic will be at the Arena Building and the Show Me Center is expecting 4,000 to turn out for the Make a Difference Tour, featuring Christian music stars Michael W. Smith, Third Day and TobyMac.

"That many folks in the area for that many things, you're going to see bumps in hotel rooms, restaurants and entertainment," said John Mehner, chief executive officer and president of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce. He said this weekend should boost sales all over town.

The Tour de Cape was apparently doing just that Saturday. More than 320 people took part in the annual ride.

"A lot of people from out of town came in [Friday] and stayed overnight at the different hotels, and after the ride a lot of them walked on down to music festival and ate at the restaurants," said Joel Allison, one of the event's organizers.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder commends Chance Ziegler, 13, of Boy Scout Troop 4016 in Cape Girardeau, for the hard work he has done on his Eagle Scout project — raising funds to help refurbish the facilities at the Glenn House. Ziegler held a fundraising event Saturday at the River Campus. The event included games, a silent auction, food and music. (Kristin Eberts)

Phil Brinson, owner of Buckner Brewing Co., one of the venue's for the music festival, said business was strong.

"And we had folks in all day long that finished the Tour de Cape, a lot of folks from out of town," Brinson said.



Pertinent Address:

Diablos players watch from the sidelines as teammate Jeff Augustine hits the ball Saturday during the 14th annual Wiffle Ball World Series at Sherwood Yards in Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

Broadway and Main Street, Cape Girardeau, MO

Independence Street and Main Street, Cape Girardeau, MO

518 S. Fountain St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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