Road trip: 900 Corvettes to visit downtown Cape in August

Corvettes line the streets of downtown Cape Girardeau on Aug. 26, 2014, as part of the Corvette Caravan.
Southeast Missourian file

Nearly 900 Chevy Corvettes will make a one-night stop in Cape Girardeau on Aug. 27 before heading to the National Corvette Museum’s 25th anniversary celebration in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Corvettes are manufactured in Bowling Green, preceded by production in the St. Louis area, according to Corvettes of Southeast Missouri president and event planning committee chairman Rick Essner.

Cars from California, Utah, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas — and even Hawaii and Australia — will be part of the caravan in Cape Girardeau, he said.

The Corvette group that’s coming here will, by that time, have traveled six or seven days, he said.

“We’re the last stop,” Essner said. “Then the next morning, they’re headed straight to Bowling Green, Kentucky.”

So far, Corvettes of Southeast Missouri — just one piece of the National Corvette Caravan — is made up of more than 100 registered members, Essner said.

The organization officially formed in March 2018.

Old Town Cape event coordinator Emily Vines said she expects nearly 2,000 spectators Aug. 27 in downtown Cape Girardeau.

The last caravan came through Cape Girardeau in 2014 without the help of a designated “Corvette club,” Essner said.

“They had a lot of help from folks that owned Corvettes, but they didn’t really have a process or a club like this to draw them,” Essner said.

The Corvette-only parade is set for 3:30 p.m. Aug. 27 on Broadway. Starting at 4 p.m., the sportscars will be on display downtown.

The caravan’s stop also will feature food trucks, two beer gardens and musical performances by groups Bittersweet and Three of a Perfect Pair.

Three streets will be closed to accommodate the vehicles: Water Street, Main Street and Spanish Street. Parking lots at North Main Street and Broadway and South Main Street and Independence Street also will be reserved for the event’s participants.

“It takes a lot of space to park that many Corvettes,” Essner said.

Public parking details are not finalized, but Essner said Isle Casino Cape Girardeau will have 1,200 parking spaces available for the day and will offer a shuttle service.

Several organizations have collaborated with Corvettes of Southeast Missouri to make the event a reality, including Old Town Cape.

Planning for the caravan began nearly two years ago, according to Vines.

Old Town Cape executive director Marla Mills said this and similar events are “much more successful if we just partner with all of the groups in the community.”

“Obviously, it’s of interest to us because it’s downtown,” Mills said. “For us, it’s a great way, on a Tuesday, to bring lots of people downtown.”

But because it is downtown, she added, it requires a lot of logistics.

Vines said she is waiting to hear back from Corvettes of Southeast Missouri to confirm and “fine tune” the details.

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