Heartland artists and businesses collaborating for 35th Cape Light Fest

35th Cape Light Fest begins Friday
Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 4:18 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The wet weather will delay the start of a holiday tradition in Cape Girardeau.

The Light Fest at Cape County Park is now set to start this Friday with the Art Council of Southeast Missouri taking charge of the annual display.

The woman leading that effort hopes it creates the kind of Christmas memories she had as a child.

”I always remember going to Marshall Field’s to see the windows and the animatronic figures,” Kelly Downes said. The director of the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri still thinks back to her childhood Christmas’ in Chicago.

“I think kids are just looking for that sense of wonder and celebration,” Downes said. “And I think the kid inside of us all is looking for that.”

She hopes they feel the same way that she did when they’re coming to see the display in Cape County Park.

Cape Light Fest is sponsored by around 20 businesses. Those businesses are collaborating with local artists.

“It’s an ambitious project and you’re making huge murals, so we’re kind of like elves in a factory just painting away,” Downes said.

The art includes classic Christmas characters, but also highlights the businesses that are sponsoring the event.

“Santa, you know, fixing a furnace for a local business,” Downes said as an example.

Artists and businesses are working to make each display unique to them.

Downes said, this relationship between business and art will have an impact on businesses.

“The more that we do these really beautiful things and bring people to our region to celebrate how much beauty is here, I think that businesses will thrive,” Downes said.

Her favorite part is the inclusion of the community in putting the displays together.

“We constructed it in a way that anybody could come out and help out and be a part of the experience,” she said.

She hopes that kids can feel the same holiday spirit that she remembers feeling.

“I made that, I had a part in that, or I know the person that made that, and I think that is really special too,” Downes said.

On December 17, they will be hosting an event with food trucks and Santa, so that families can get out of their cars to walk around and see the art.

The light fest will be open until January 1.