Plans are under way for the first ever "Savor the Southeast" Festival, scheduled for May 22 at the Clinton Building in Sikeston's Sports Complex.
"Savor the Southeast" will showcase Southeast Missouri's attractions to tour group leaders from all over the world by featuring the River Heritage area's best food, drink, live music and other entertainment.
The Sikeston and Miner Convention and Visitors Bureau along with the River Heritage Association has offered to host the festival and are inviting all chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, area promotion groups and southeast Missouri associations to join in on the fun.
The 12 counties involved will celebrate tourism as one of Missouri's top industries. Participating counties include Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Scott, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve and Stoddard.
The reaction to the festival from these counties has been astounding. So far, everyone we have contacted regarding the event is very excited and willing to participate. There will be so many different flavors to sample during the festival. Some of these will be Corky's barbecue; Dexter's ribs; Cape's My Daddy's Cheesecake, New Madrid's Mississippi mud cake, rice crispy treats, old-fashioned candies and mulled cider; Lambert's rolls, sorghum, okra and fried potatoes; Good Humor-Breyers ice cream; Charleston's cheese grits; and East Prairies' catfish. The list just goes on and on.
The International Tour Group Leaders will begin their Missouri trek after attending a convention and the St. Louis' Pow-Wow. Then they will board a bus from St. Louis Thursday morning heading to Ste. Genevieve for a couple of hours. We will expect them around 2 p.m. May 22.
While here, they will be offered the wonderful opportunity to learn more about Southeast Missouri area's events and attractions. Each booth will offer treats for our visitors.
Also the tour group leaders will meet our senators, state representatives, mayors and commissioners from the counties involved.
This is a great opportunity for area residents also. After the group leaders leave for Cape Girardeau where they will spend the night before heading to Illinois, the Clinton Building will be open to the public. Although the food may be gone, you will have the opportunity to view the endless opportunities we have in our neighboring counties and we hope this will stir up a little tourism interaction here in the Bootheel.
We are so excited to get to share our beautiful portion of the state with the rest of the world. Hopefully these leaders will return home and bring more tour groups to visit us.