Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Finding excitement in the Cape Girardeau community

Thursday, August 18, 2022
Photo by Molly Phegley

As an incoming student to the Cape Girardeau area, people may say things along the lines of “Cape Girardeau is so boring,” or “There’s nothing to do here!” Whether it’s a first year SEMO student, or a Cape native who knows this town like the back of their hand, it’s not hard to find someone who has agreed with those statements at one point.

However, those opinions likely stem from a non-exploratory mindset, or simple unawareness of the many great things Cape Girardeau actually has to offer. Cape Girardeau obviously isn’t the big city with flashing lights that many high school students dream of exploring during their college years, but there are still so many events, activities and groups, especially for SEMO students. Whether you’re interested in exercise, music, food, or the arts, this small town can provide a wide variety of non-stop adventure.

While staying in Cape Girardeau, it’s important to get outside and admire the Historic Downtown. One of the best ways to do that is to join a Social Run. Every Wednesday, a group of runners meet on the back patio of Minglewood Brewery at 6:30 p.m. and head out to run — or walk — the downtown area. They meet back at Minglewood Brewery at the end of their run to socialize, eat pizza and drink craft-brewed beer.

The Social Run gathers people of all ability levels and is meant to encourage socializing and exercising, Bryan Kelpe, organizer of the Social Run, said. Kelpe emphasized that everybody is always welcome. The Social Run is inclusive and loves to see diverse participants.

“We’ve had a lot of individuals that moved into the area and provided a no-pressure experience to get to know people and the community,” Kelpe said. “There have been so many people who were strangers and have now become really close friends. It’s a family gathering each week to just catch up and enjoy our time.”

Joe Gomez, a consistent member of the Social Run, travels every Wednesday from Cobden, Illinois to join the group for a fun night. “The social run is just two hours of strictly positive energy. It allows for people of all skill levels to come together and enrich each others’ lives,” Gomez said.

Small businesses thrive in Cape Girardeau and a great way to experience this foundational part of the community is by visiting either of the weekly markets. Cape Farmer’s Market is held Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the West Park Mall parking lot until Thanksgiving, while the Cape Riverfront Market is held Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. off Spanish Street in Downtown Cape through October. These markets provide a wide range of locally grown fruits and veggies, handcrafted products, street food, and much more.

“The market creates a unique relationship between buyer and seller because you get to meet the people who are actually growing and providing the products being sold.” Jeanne Givens, owner of the Tickled Pink flower stand at the Cape Farmer’s Market said. “I also think the market provides a fun shopping experience for college students to have lunch, gather their groceries, and grab a bouquet to brighten up their dorm.”

SEMO horticulture graduate Heather Gomez, owner of The Mushroom Spot stand at both markets, agrees that the market is a special place where people can find products only provided by local businesses.

“The market is just a great place for people to see the different roles in our community,” Gomez said. “And I love all the little dogs and kids that are running around, becoming a part of our weekly routine.”

Just down the street from the Cape Riverfront Market is the restaurant Ebb & Flow Fermentations, a great place for college students to visit any time of day. It has a fun environment for all ages with colorful couches, interesting books and board games.

There are many ways to get involved in the community through Ebb & Flow. They provide live music every Thursday through Saturday. They also have EbbTalks — their take on TedTalks — where Cape locals speak about life experiences. Books on Tap is a book club collaboration with the local library that meets every month at Ebb & Flow.

“We want to provide a location for people to come and just exist. It’s a great place to sit down and write a paper. Or come grab a bite with some friends, catch the end of a show, and pop on down to the bars after. This place is a lovely launchpad for a great evening among friends,” Trevor Camp, general manager of Ebb & Flow said.

There are endless ways to get involved in the Cape Girardeau community. To discover even more events and activities going on in Cape Girardeau, Old Town Cape’s {} provides a directory of Downtown Cape Girardeau.