By Sue Moore
Vicksburg Lions Club members have found a new roof over their heads for their 41st annual Summer Festival, a.k.a., the B&B (Beer and Brats), in the new pavilion they helped build on N. Richardson Street.
The grand opening in the new venue will be, Thursday, July 24, at 4 p.m. for Beer and Brats, with the emphasis on kids’ entertainment.
Games for children begin at 6 p.m. with lots of prizes for the kiddies, said Mitch Moldovan, overseer of the event. The Kalamazoo Shrine Clowns will once again entertain the children. Free testing of “kidsight” for ages 1-5 will be available. The testing, which provides immediate results, may help to detect any early vision problems.
Of the festival’s new venue, John Polasek, who cooks the brats and sauerkraut, said, “It just seems like we’ve been moving every year. It’s really just the sixth location and arguably the best one.”
Started by Otto Kaak, the festival originally was held in what is now the Dollar General Building on East Prairie. When that space became too small, they purchased a building on W. Avenue, some distance off the road so the noise from the festival wouldn’t bother the neighbors.
From there, it moved to the Harding’s (now Family Fare) parking lot, and then to the Historic Village site next to the Brady Township Hall, and then to the Village’s Recreation Park off of Sprinkle Road. Attendance kept declining at the park, largely due to the economy, according to Doug Stafinski, general chairman for the last 15 years.
“When the idea was broached to return to the Historic Village and build a pavilion, the Club got on board,” Stafinski said. “We pitched our tents last year where the pavilion stands now and had the best attendance in the last six years.”
For over two years, the Lions Club and Polasek worked with the Farmers’ Market organizers to help plan and finance the building of the pavilion.
Polasek now takes pride in what he called the “final resting place” for the festival, because he and the Lions Club helped build the pavilion.
He and several other local men volunteered their time for 10 days, teaming up with the Timber Framers Guild.
Holding the festival at the new pavilion will help the Lions Club in their service to the community.
“We can save the cost of the main tent by utilizing the pavilion,” said Stafinski. “That gives us more as a service club, to return back into the community.”
The Lions Club provides eye glasses and vision testing for low income citizens, purchases AED machines for the schools, provides scholarships for high school seniors, sponsors Senior Honors Night at the high school, supports the Generous Hands’ backpack program, and several Lions International eyesight programs.
Lions Club Summer Festival Activities Line Up
Thursday, July 24 – Opening Night for Beer and Brats at 4 p.m. Kids’ Night; children’s games 6 – 8 p.m.
Friday, July 25 – Open for lunch and dinner – 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Friday, July 25 – Vicksburg Rotary Club meeting in the pavilion – noon
Friday, July 25 – Third annual corn hole tournament – 6 p.m.
Friday, July 25 – Rustic Band – 8:30 to 12:30 a.m.
Friday, July 25 – Volleyball tournament – 6 – 9 p.m.
Saturday, July 26 – Vicksburg High School Alumni breakfast – 9 a.m., in the pavilion
Saturday, July 26 – Open for lunch and dinner 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturday, July 26 – 8th annual horseshoe pitching contest – 11 a.m.
Saturday, July 26 – Volleyball tournament – 1 p.m. until a champion is crowned
Saturday, July 26 – South County Band – 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.