Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Vault

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The Beast

By Linda Hoard

The Vault Coffee House & Wine Bar, 130 W. Prairie St., Vicksburg’s newest restaurant, is a pub-like neighborhood hangout, named for its location in the former bank building.

Owners Clint Powell and Michelle Snook first purchased Boundary Waters Coffee & Cafe in 2011. After learning the ropes of the business, they decided to expand and purchased the former Bank of America building to open The Vault. The larger space offers a beautifully decorated and relaxing environment everyone can enjoy, whether for a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, dinner or an evening of entertainment.

The wine selection and craft beers bring people in; the atmosphere and food bring them back.

Burgers are leading the pack as the most popular food item.

The burger (pictured) is called the Beast because it is big and stuffed with bacon, mushrooms, olives and onions and served with ham on top. Also pictured is a glass of Gonzo’s beer.

Overlooking the water, the patio has become a preferred destination on warm afternoons and evenings. Live entertainment is usually offered four nights a week, from 6 to 10 p.m. but always on Fridays and Saturdays. Tuesday night is Bike Night and there are wine specials every Wednesday night for Ladies Night. A recent Ladies Night offered complimentary massages with the purchase of a bottle of wine. And on Memorial Day, a backyard style cookout was held on the deck to honor veterans.

The Vault offers a full menu, from breakfast to dinner. For breakfast, you’ll find not only breakfast sandwiches and egg dishes, but also several different varieties of crepes. Soups, salads, and sandwiches for lunch are followed by a variety of dinner specials.

Several locally brewed beers are on tap, and wines by the glass or bottle. With about 15 different beers on tap, you’re sure to find something for the beer lover in your group. Local breweries on tap include Gonzo’s, Boatyard, Bell’s and  Latitude 42.

The Vault’s phone number is 269-649-2069. The Vault opens weekdays at 6 a.m. for breakfast. On weeknights, they close at 10 p.m. or midnight for special events. Fridays and Saturdays, they close at 2 a.m. and Sunday’s hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Yogi’s

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Strawberry shortcake, strawberry cheesecake, peanut butter pie

Yogi’s, 2070 East VW Ave., is an old staple in Vicksburg and a favorite gathering place for locals.  It’s a busy, friendly place where you can get a cup of coffee and a great breakfast all day or lunch or dinner. Pictured are some of Yogi’s desserts: strawberry shortcake, strawberry cheesecake and peanut butter pie.

Yogi’s has a large menu, and you’ll probably have a hard time choosing your favorites. Burgers and salads are big hits.

Yogi’s is owned by Greg Hart. Call for take-out orders at 269- 649-2431. Their hours are Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Dani Jamerson’s Band Returns to Taste of Vicksburg

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By Kaye Bennett

Southwest Michigan music fans may be familiar with Dani Jamerson and her band, who will be playing from 6 till 8 p.m. at this year’s Taste of Vicksburg, but even the most ardent among them might not know that:

•             Jamerson’s first public performance was as a fourth-grader, playing the Tin Man in the school’s “Wizard of Oz.” She says she “forced” the school to list her in the program as the “Tin Woman.” “I was such a little diva,” she said.

•             If Jamerson hadn’t chosen music as her career, she might be playing a sport at a lucky college somewhere. “I was an athlete in school,” she said. Jamerson played basketball, volleyball and softball while in high school. But the now-21-year-old, a graduate of Athens High School, knew from an early age that music was what she was meant to do, and she’s devoting her time now to being a full-time musician.

•             Jamerson taught herself to play the guitar; the only musical instruction she ever received was a brief foray into piano lessons when she was 10 years old.

•             Jamerson’s mother, Melissa, is a second grade teacher at Vicksburg’s Indian Lake Elementary School.

Today, the Dani Jamerson Band, founded in 2011, consists of Jamerson on vocals and acoustic guitar, Scott Dana on lead guitar, Rob Parsons on bass, and Dani’s brother Garrett Jamerson on drums. Her fellow band members are on board with the country rock sound that Jamerson says comes so naturally to her.

Her career aspirations are two-fold.

“I’d love to be a national signed touring musician with a record label and, on the other side, I love song writing, so I’m actively pursuing a publishing deal,” she said,

To reach her first goal, Jamerson plays gigs, mostly in southwest Michigan, two to four times a week.

Jamerson began working toward goal number two when she was just 16. With wholehearted support from her family, she started going to Nashville twice a year back then, joined the National Songwriters Association International, and began meeting a lot of people in the business she already loved.

“It’s a big web you create,” she said. “The cool thing about Nashville is that it’s a big family. I hardly ever have to stay in a hotel when I go there.”

People in the music community take care of each other.

Now she’s in Nashville every month or so, working with big names and often recording demo works for other writers who are drawn by the distinctive nature of Jamerson’s voice.

Last fall, her hard work and her song-writing connections paid off. She co-wrote “I Listen to My Bad Girl,” with Erica Nicole, who recorded the song, which rose to number 21 on Billboard’s Music Row Breakout chart and number 1 on Renegade radio.

Jamerson’s first CD, “Dirty Boys,” was released in 2012 and is available on iTunes. She is now working on CD number two.

Jamerson said she never misses a chance to “give a shout-out to the people who come to our shows and support us.”

Many of her fans, she said, have become friends of both herself and her parents.

Dessert Diva

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Snickers Cupcakes

By Linda Hoard

The real dessert diva is none other than Ronda Schabes, the woman whose incredible baking skills brought Catherine Cassidy, the editor-in-chief of the Taste of Home magazine and Tony Gilio, the vice president of Books are Fun to Vicksburg to surprise her with the grand prize in their national contest.

Her husband Matt, her three daughters, her mother and all the children, teachers and principal from Sunset Lake Elementary were on hand to witness the surprise on Schabes’ face when she discovered she was the winner during the school’s weekly Spirit Assembly. Schabes received $20,000 as her part of the prize and Sunset Lake, where Shabes works part-time as an office aide, also received $20,000

She won the prize with her peanut butter cup and chocolate cupcakes, which feature peanut butter cups, chocolate ganache frosting and a whipped peanut butter topping. She started baking cakes 18 years ago when her first daughter was born, and her passion became her business. She takes orders for all kinds of cakes, including gluten free.

If you have a special event coming up, or even if you don’t, but just have a sweet tooth, don’t hesitate to call Schabes and taste for yourself her delicious desserts. She can be reached at 269-475-5238.

Jaspare’s Pizza

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Pizza

By Linda Hoard

Walk into Jaspare’s pizza parlor, 111 S. Main St. during a typical lunch or dinner hour, you’ll most likely see someone behind the counter throwing pizza dough up into the air. Whatever the tossing does, the pizza crust at Jaspare’s is pretty scrumptious.

Now, they even have gluten free crust. And with tons of toppings, the variety of pizzas is almost endless.

But of course, that’s not all you can enjoy there. The lasagna, handcrafted and made from scratch, is very popular. Salads, subs, and pastas are also available.

Vicksburg’s location was the first of six Jaspare’s and has been the place for pizza since 1977.

Owner Todd Glenn has kept the tradition of excellence alive with great pizza and real Italian food. You can eat in, get take-out or have your pizza delivered. Check out their Facebook page for special deals and contests. There’s even a Jaspare’s Pizza app.

Their hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. They can be reached at 269-649-3975.

Apple Knockers

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Chocolate shake and BLTdog

By Linda Hoard

Apple Knockers, 115 W. Prairie St., an ice cream parlor opened by Paula Hochstetler and her daughters Angela Palomaki and Rita Sertic in 2009, was named one of the top ice cream parlors in Michigan in 2012, coming in third in MLive.com’s search for the best ice cream parlor.

The name, Apple Knockers, comes from a term used in the Upper Peninsula to refer to people who live in the Lower Peninsula. It’s also a term used to describe country bumpkins. So when trying to find a cute name for the restaurant Paula said, “That’s it!”  We’re in a rural, fruit growing area.” So the name stuck.

Apple Knockers serves Plainwell Ice Cream. In addition to shakes, malts, sundaes and cones in all flavors, ice cream cakes are now available in many varieties.

But ice cream treats are not the only sweets on the menu. Grandma Fannie Mae worked as a baker at the Essenhaus Restaurant in Middlebury, IN, for many years and her recipes, including peanut butter pie, are served at Apple Knockers.

Apple Knockers also serves Nathan’s all-beef hot dogs, and pictured is the new BLT dog with bacon, lettuce, tomato and their special dipping sauce.

Regular and white chicken chili and steaming hot corn casserole are served when the weather is cold. Other menu items include macaroni and cheese, burgers, wraps and sandwiches. The kid’s meals include a token so they can go back and get ice cream when they’re done eating.

Pasties are a homemade menu item at Apple Knockers. The Marquette-style recipe was handed down from Grandma Mante who was a cook in a logging camp. Apparently pasties in the U.P. are made differently in each location, so the pasties made in Marquette are much different than those made by the Mackinac bridge.

Apple Knockers is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. They may be extending their hours as the summer heats up.

Old Car Festival Hosts Many Activities

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Each year, the owner these collies turns up at the car show, sometimes with puppies for sale, out of this early 60s Chevrolet.

By Sue Moore

The 34th annual Old Car Festival will kick off in Vicksburg on Friday, June 13, at 6 p.m. with live oldies music and old cars of every vintage parading through the downtown.

Saturday is always the big day when over 1,000 antique cars of all varieties, drive into town as early as 7 a.m. Volunteers help park the cars in their designated spots on both sides of Main Street, Prairie Street and on out to the Historic Village on Richardson Street.

Those who arrive early on Saturday morning can enjoy the Pancake Breakfast, served by the members of the South County Fire Authority in their building at the corner of Main and Washington. A noon luncheon, featuring chicken BBQ and homemade pies with ice cream, will be served by the Vicksburg Education Association and Vicksburg United Methodist Church family, in front of their building on Main Street.

The Historic Village on north Richardson Street will be hosting the Tin Can Tourists, a group that Ken and Lee Evensen invite each year. The owners of these vintage trailers open them to the public. All the buildings in the park are open to the public during the day as well. Also on the site will be the steam and gas engine show, organized by Dale Sult.

A juried Arts and Craft show in Clark Park will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Vicksburg High School Jazz band will be featured in the live entertainment on north Prairie Street.

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Vicksburg Education Association sponsors the BBQ chicken tent on the grounds of the Vicksburg United Methodist Church.

Auto parts and flea market vendors will be lined up along the west side of Prairie Street along with Corvettes from the Kalamazoo Corvette club in the open parking area by Family Fare.

A Duck Derby is fun for the kids who like to urge their miniature plastic ducks with their winning number painted on the bottom as they cascade down the stream in Clark Park, promptly at 1 p.m. This event is a fundraiser for the Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation and is sponsored by five local businesses. The owner of the winning duck will receive the grand prize of a dinner at Main Street Pub.

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Carol Lohman and Charlie Glaes catch the winning entries in the Duck Derby during the Old Car Festival.

The Vicksburg District Library also sponsors a used book sale all day in the library’s basement.

The day ends by 4 p.m. with the announcement of the car show trophies, once the votes have been counted from the public.

All of this activity is coordinated by Skip and Carol Knowles who organized the first show in 1980 and have been heading it up for the Vicksburg Community Association ever since. Over the years, the event has grown to rival the other large Michigan car show in St. Ignace, which is a point of pride for Skip.

Originally, Friday night was devoted to 50s and 60s music and dancing in the parking lot of the Tastee Freeze on W. Prairie. That building is now Fred’s Pharmacy and the owner, Fred Nelson, invites the cars back every year. Along with that come the food vendors who are happy to set up alongside the street with their specialties.

Mustang, GTO Celebrate 50 Years

Two iconic cars of the 50s, the Mustang and the Pontiac GTO, are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

The GTO was the brainchild of John DeLorean the General Manager of Pontiac and Jim Wangers the Ad Executive at McManus, the ad agency that handled the Pontiac account. They felt that there was a market for a large horsepower mid-sized car and in 1964 offered a GTO option on the Pontiac Tempest.

It quickly became a powerhouse car and by 1965 it was its own brand and no longer a Tempest option. There were only 7500 Tempests made with the GTO option so it is the rarest of all the GTOs. It became a street racing star, an iconic muscle car and was even celebrated in a 60s pop hit song “Little GTO”.

Hot Rods Have Long History

The first hot rods were 1930s Model-A Fords modified for speed, said Dale Emar of Vicksburg. The flathead Ford V8 was the engine of choice and the possibilities for customization were fueled by imagination.

“Back in the ‘30s, a guy would go out to the junkyard and find the biggest engine he could and drop it into a Model A Ford,” Emaar said. “He’d remove the fenders and do everything he could to make that car lighter so it would go faster.”

Yet however much it was altered, a hot rod was distinguished from a race car in that it remained, technically, street legal—lights, horn, windshield wipers, turn signals still intact and functional, he said.

How fast the car would go was put to the test at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah where this kind of racing got its start.

After the Second World War, soldiers returning home put their own stamp on the genre. A guy’s hot rod told a story of his favorite colors, maybe his girlfriend’s name, and his blood type detailed on the dashboard—a legacy of dog-tags and war, but also handy to know out on the Salt Flats where accidents were a given but proper medical attention wasn’t.