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The Best of 2023 - People, Places...

As the editor and Supreme Leader of the 573 Magazine, I am blessed to meet some of the coolest and most passionate people on the planet. In the 573, we do not care what the rest of the world thinks about us. We do our own thing, and we know what we like. We like friendly neighbors, crystal clear water, abundant wildlife, great-tasting foods, smiling children, fair and efficient law enforcement, superior education systems, excellent healthcare, and strong communities... I would not live anywhere else—that IS a fact. So today, I give you some of the BEST stories of 2023 and the people who live by our mantra—GET OUT THERE!

573 Magazine's Best Stories of the Year encapsulate the vibrant essence of our homeland, showcasing amazing people, places, and passions. From the bustling cities to the serene countryside, each story vividly portrays our local communities, their resilience, aspirations, and shared experiences. This 573 spotlight unveils the unsung superheroes and their extraordinary endeavors, celebrating their achievements and contributions to the region's growth and spirit. It encapsulates the pulse of the area, intertwining tales of perseverance, innovation, and unwavering dedication—a visual feast of the hidden gems, breathtaking landscapes, and treasured landmarks that define the 573.

Trish, our first 573 Superhero.

In 2023, we began our 573 Superhero program. Meet Trish Erzfeld. She is an outward thinker, making Perryville one of the best places for day trips in the 573. For several years, Trish has been helping us find story ideas. She helps us with our events—chalk festivals, mud festivals, film festivals…and recently, she has been helping us make a new film in Perryville. Simply put, and here is where the lesson comes into play—none of this happens by accident; nope, Trish and the gang at Perryville make things happen for Perryville. They pull 573 Magazine to Perryville because they want YOU in Perryville. They make giving attention to Perryville a pleasure and always welcome ALL OF YOU with open arms.

We pigged out at The Southerner, a restaurant by Tractors.

We journeyed to Cape Girardeau to check out The Southerner, a restaurant by Tractors. The smell of southern home cooking greets you at the door, and the familiar sights of local paradises mixed with southern scenes from the owner's travels grace the walls surrounding the dining room. With a menu inspired by traditional Southern dishes like those you would find in Mississippi, Alabama, or New Orleans, The Southerner is serving up Deep South flavors with a side of that famous 573 feeling of home.

Hi-Fliers on Hughs Mountain.

We met some Hi-Fliers. Spring in the 573 is such a beautiful time of year. The warm sun, the leaves and flowers speckle the outside world, and breezes are flowing. It's perfect weather to climb Hughes Mountain with some new 573 friends and go kite flying—with an old, never used 1963 Hi-Flier kite. The wind always blows on top of Hughes Mountain.

UFO's in the 573? Yup, we got 'em!

We met with UFO hunters in the 573. Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered what else is out there? Are we really alone, or is something up there looking back at us? After all, it's a great big universe we live in, and our little planet in our little galaxy can't be it, right? Years ago, thoughts such as these expressed out loud would have landed you in the looney bin or at least would have gotten you labeled as a kook or conspiracy theorist. Not today, my naturally curious and open-minded friends—not today!

Katrina Amos—Airport Manager of the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport

We found something we know you will love. A super cool and super convenient way to get to Nashville and the world beyond—so cheap it would only cost you as little as $25-$48 and 26 minutes. At the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, you can fly into Nashville in the morning, spend the day shopping, dining, listening to live music, and flying back home in the evening or the next day. It makes a great mini vacation at little cost. But there is much, much more to this story.

Water—573 style.

The clear spring waters of southeastern Missouri are a testament to nature's beauty. Deep within the Mark Twain National Forest, a network of pristine springs gushes forth, forming a web of crystal-clear streams and pools that meander through the woodlands.

Each spring carries its unique charm, from the mesmerizing whirlpools of Blue Spring to Pickle Springs National Natural Landmark to the tranquil serenity at Sam A Baker State Park with its crystal-clear waters.

Carisa strikes again.

There's an old saying. All good things must come to an end. But that's not true. Good things don't simply end…they evolve. They change, adapt, and survive by ending one way of being and beginning a new one—a delicious transition. Jackson Street BrewCo, a micro-brewery in Perryville, has moved the fermentation to another location and is spreading its new temptation as JStreet Eats. Decorated with bright neon colors, 80s & 90s music videos playing on multiple screens, and the clothes and makeup of the energetic and attentive wait staff…it was like being back at the arcade, the mall, and a pizza joint all at once—hosted by serial entrepreneur Carisa Stark.

Caving under Perryville.

Did you know that one of the largest cave systems in the US is underneath the town of Perryville and the surrounding area, boasting more than 700 caves? It's hard to believe, but it's true. The 573 team has explored a few of these caves in the past, encountering saber-toothed tiger tracks in one, sparkling walls in another, and numerous amazing features like stalagmites. We are simply amazed every time we venture into one of these caves. Unfortunately, none of these caves are open to the public due to their housing of important natural features and a few endangered species; they are all considered wild or natural caves. The silver lining is that anyone can experience the wonders of these caves, thanks to the forward-thinking initiatives of the city of Perryville. Anyone can embark on a supervised cave journey through their civic center or the Perry Park Center led by an expert caver. Yes, you get wet, muddy, and tired, but you gain the experience of a lifetime.

Meet muli-talented Joy Brooker—A 573 Superhero

The 573 is home to a wide array of super-talented artists and all around amazing people. Recently, 573 Magazine traveled to Cape Girardeau to meet up with an amazingly talented performance artist who blew up overnight and has made an explosive career out of singing her heart out to total strangers via surprise singing telegrams—bringing Joy to the world!

We had fish tacos at The La Lounge at Bon Bon's in Cape. Grilled tilapia with large chunks of tomato, a delicious coleslaw that's sweet, thick slices of red onion, and big cilantro leaves… it's delicious! The lime wedge adds a nice fresh flavor to the dish. It is beautiful. Beautifully made, beautifully plated, beautifully enjoyed.

Mural painter Kenzie Wolk

Talent is everywhere in the 573: paintings on buildings, sculptures gracing the parks, businesses, walkways, galleries, and ever-changing window displays…art makes life more enjoyable. Life is art. And for some, art is life. Recently, we drove the Perryville streets to see new exhibits -by the Splash Pad Park, around the Downtown Square, and in front of local businesses. We had to meet some of the local artists behind Perryville's Annual Outdoor Art Exhibition.

Old No. 102 in Farmington

We visited Old No. 102 in Farmington. Old No. 102 offers an extensive menu with fresh salads, crazy good appetizers, satisfying sandwiches, hearty pasta dishes, and, of course, mouth-watering wood-fired pizzas. There is even a kid's menu for picky peas. The beer list is massive, with local brews on tap and unique can selections.

Whatever Floats Your Boat, Twain

We took a small boat journey down the Mississippi. From historical towns and roadsides camped along its banks, I have admired its might from a distance. Mark Twain's stories have inspired me to explore and long for my own mighty Mississippi adventure. The river holds something that is missing, but you can become one with the river by journeying on its surface.

Made For MEAD-Brix Urban Winery

We tasted mead at Brix Urban Winery in Ste. Gen. Mead, often referred to as "the nectar of the gods," is one of the oldest known alcoholic beverages, with a rich history dating back thousands of years. This ancient fermented drink is created by blending honey, water, and yeast. The primary ingredient in mead is honey; the final product's flavor, aroma, and characteristics depend mainly on the type and quality of honey used. Honey can range from light and delicate varieties to dark and robust ones, each lending unique flavors and aromas to the mead.

We sampled ice cream from all over the kingdom. For me, ice cream is linked to fond memories of my childhood. The excitement of hearing the ice cream truck's bell ringing, running to my mother, yelling, "The Ice Cream Truck's coming, the Ice Cream Truck's coming!" and begging her for money before the truck gets away. Running full speed or peddling like a wild child by bike to get ice cream. The joy of holding those coins in my hands, facing the pictures of all the choices plastered on the truck. A drumstick? A bomb pop? An ice cream sandwich? So many delicious choices—I have no idea how the Ice Cream Man had so much patience. music artist, Ian Ferguson, joined 573 Magazine for a photo shoot at Hawn.

Ian is quickly growing in the regional music scene and spreading roots in Nashville. With guitar in hand and a deep, beautiful voice, Ian serenaded the forest, the birds, and our hearts. Local country music artist Ian Ferguson joined 573 Magazine for a photo shoot at Hawn—talented, kind, and intriguing; it's hard not to fall head over heels with this beautiful soul.

We took you on a road trip. It's ALL the rage. Even if you're not comfortable calling yourself a leaf peeper, you won't want to miss the glorious fall foliage of Southeast Missouri. The 573 is famous for the brilliance of the autumn foliage, and a seasonal tourist industry is growing around the few weeks in autumn when the leaves are at their peak colors. What could be better than a drive to see the color art live in real-time?

At the end of the day, the passionate pursuits chronicled within the 573 Magazine resonate deeply with many people. We met so many cool people—too many to give credit to here in this story. By capturing the essence of the area's hobbies, traditions, and interests, we foster a sense of pride and belonging. In essence, 573 Magazine's compilation is a love letter to our readers—we LUB you. Now get your booty out of that sunken sofa and do something. Do anything. Hike, run, learn...and let us know about it when you are finished. GET OUT THERE.

The Editor

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