Cape Girardeau businesses prepare for extra visitors for Southeast Mo. State’s graduation

Businesses around Cape Girardeau get ready to see a spike this weekend as thousands of visitors travel in for graduation at SEMO
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 5:46 PM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2023 at 6:14 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Businesses in Cape Girardeau are getting ready to see a spike this weekend in thousands of visitors travel in for graduation at Southeast Missouri State University.

Southeast students will be turning their tassels at their commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13 at the Show-Me Center.

More than 1,400 students will walk across the stage inside the Show Me Center for the ceremony. Now, both the school and the community are getting prepared for all of the visitors.

“Imagine 14-hundred students graduating,” Dan Presson, at Southeast Missouri State University, said. “That’s 14-hundred families celebrating.”

“It really helps drive business here at the Courtyard,” Brandon Hahs, at the Courtyard Marriott in Downtown Cape, said.

“This will be the busiest weekend of the year for us,” Chris Marchi, owner of Mary Jane Bourbon and Smokehouse, said.

Graduation caps flying means more suitcases into hotels, and more mouths to feed.

“Oh goodness, we’ve had reservations coming in since probably even before the first of the year,” Hahs said.

“We will be busy from the moment we open up at 10 o’clock on Saturday until Sunday night at 8 o’clock,” Marchi said.

Marchi said Mother’s Day would be busy on its own, but this year it’s mixed in with Southeast’s graduation. He described the business they’re expecting as crazy. He said it gives his staff the opportunity to share the Mary Jane experience with out-of-towners.

“Maybe they’ve been here before, but they haven’t been here a lot, they’re not a local, so we really want to put our best foot forward this weekend,” Marchi said.

“If you don’t have your reservation you need to give us a call,” Hahs said. The Marriott is currently at 90 percent capacity. “And, we’ll be sold out by the weekend, I mean it’s always a sell-out weekend for us.”

“Aunts, uncles, grandmas, parents, family, friends, all coming in to town,” Presson said.

Dan Presson said bringing all of these families to town is doing more than just celebrating graduates.

“Just engaging with our community, seeing how beautiful our downtown is, and so hopefully all of those happy people will come to this community and leave and tell others about this community,” Presson said.

Commencement will take place on Saturday. Drivers are encouraged to give themselves ample time to get to their destination, as commencement may cause extra traffic.