Southeast Missouri State University student publication

The SEMO District Fair’s impact on the Cape Girardeau community

Monday, September 27, 2021
The rides were very popular among guests at the fair.
Photo by Hannah Wolfe

The Cape Girardeau region benefits greatly from the SEMO District Fair each year, both economically and socially. The fair has been an annual tradition for more than 160 years, bringing together families, friends and local businesses.

President of Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce John Mehner believes the fair is of great value to the region by promoting economic development and community betterment.

“The fair is our largest drawing event for the year. If the numbers hold out as they have in the past, there will be more than 100,000 people that will attend the fair,” Mehner said.

This extent of foot traffic also promotes many economical benefits to the surrounding businesses and restaurants in our region. The SEMO fair brings in almost $40,000 in sales tax to go towards the City of Cape.

The SEMO District Fair allows for the university to be more involved in community activities and fundraisers. Kappa Beta Gamma sorority member Kari Pepple has lived in the Cape Girardeau area all of her life. She and her sorority set up a stand to raise donations for Mac’s Mission Humane Society.

“Our philanthropy is for the Special Olympics, and all of these dogs are special needs, so it also helps spread the importance of our mission,” Pepple said.

The majority of booths at the SEMO District Fair are run by local organizations, many of which are also collecting donations. Creative services director at KFVS Chuck Voss has been a life-long member of the Trinity Lutheran Church. Every year, the church sets up a food stand as their primary fundraiser for the congregation and Saxony Lutheran High School.

Volunteering every year allows for people to build a community. This annual event brings an exciting and nostalgic feeling to many locals.

“At any of the stands here, we have people that look forward to coming together and allowing old friends to reunite,” Voss said. “I really enjoy being involved in something bigger, whether it’s working in the stand or knowing all the volunteers that come together for this event.”

The fair is a time of celebration in Cape Girardeau, allowing for local establishments, churches and schools to come together and expand the connections between business and community.