Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Crowds and corvettes line the streets of downtown Cape for sixth annual caravan

Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Photo by Jelani Days

Corvettes old and new lined the streets of downtown Cape Girardeau Tuesday, Aug. 24, during the 2019 National Corvette Caravan.

Hosted once every five years, the traveling caravan drives into its sixth year, heading across the country making seven main stops along the way.

The final destination for the group is in Bowling Green, Kentucky,home of the National Corvette Museum which will be celebrating 25 years since its grand opening in 1994, and unveiling the new Corvette model C8.

Show members traveled from as close as Cape County to California and arrived in a mix of styles and years.

"The event kicked off with a parade — which lasted just under 10 minutes — of classic cars cruising through Capaha Park at 3:30 p.m., and continued with a party downtown, hosted by Corvettes of Southeast Missouri until 10 p.m.

The classic cars lined the streets of Spanish, Main and Water, which allowed visitors to take pictures, talk to vehicle owners, enjoy live music and purchase food from local vendors.

The regional caravan featured more than 900 Corvettes.

Rick Schmidt, a Cape police officer, spoke about the logistics of the show, explaining a lot of organization goes into these kinds of local events.

“This Corvette show in particular took a lot of extra planning because people from all kinds of locations are coming to stay in Cape, which they may be unfamiliar with,” Schmidt said. “We need places for parking, areas for people to eat or stay overnight, and we just want to make sure we have the space for it all.”

Jerry Miracle, a Cape local and show member, explained what is unique about a Corvette-only show is that there aren't any other car models that do something just like it in a traveling group.

“You get a real sense of the car-specific community you’re in,” Miracle said. “You meet a lot of people from different places that share your interests, and you always learn new things from everyone you talk to.”

Howard Kinder, who showcased six cars in his fifth year with the caravan, said this event has become a tradition in his family.

His son, Shawn, believes these shows can have the same effect on other families and will help influence new generations.

Shawn explained these events allow older generations to share some of their nostalgia with new generations as well as the experience of attending community events.

“These shows also bring the community together and welcome the new community of out-of-towners. It’s always great for local businesses, and it really helps put Cape Girardeau on the map,” Kinder said.

The caravan departed Cape and headed to its final destination, a celebration ceremony from Aug. 28 to Aug. 31 in Bowling Green.