[SeMissourian.com] Fair ~ 81°F  
River stage: 31.85 ft. Falling
Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015

More people, more everything

Friday, August 17, 2012

As the immortal Vanilla Ice once said, "Ring the bell; school's back in."

You can see Cape Girardeau filling up with scores of college students, eager to begin the semester at Southeast Missouri State University. You can see the younger children in the stores with parents, getting supplies and clothes that comply with a new dress code. And you can see the "For Rent" signs disappearing, as dorms fill up and students claim off-campus properties.

But what does this mean for entertainment? Plenty.

As I previously discussed in my Aug. 3 column, Cape Girardeau is not necessarily a "college town." However, this does not mean the huge influx of students from around the world has no effect on arts and entertainment options and venues around the area.

The summer festivals and carnivals will start to fade away, and the River Campus and Show Me Center become more active. Along with that, the easygoing downtown nights turn into a constant party environment that fills bars to the brim.

But this is not a bad thing.

More people means more bands, more event variety ... more everything. And it's not just the college kids that bring the "more" factor. High schools will offer some interesting theater options. Students have admirably put on musicals like "Annie" and "Bye, Bye, Birdie" in the past and should continue to do so. And the work of young, budding artists will start to become a part of the First Friday experience.

So, whether you like the new blood coming to town or not, there's no arguing the huge effect they have on our local culture. Personally, I subscribe to the theory that school pushes the lazy summer away with a younger generation's energy. I encourage you to take time to bask in that energy.


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James Samons
Street Spirit
James Samons writes about (and studies) the arts and entertainment culture of Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. Every week he writes on the arts for the Southeast Missourian's SE Live entertainment section.