Italy comes to Vicksburg in Many Different Ways

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Kaye Bennett of Vicksburg is in a Venice gondola while on a trip to Italy. Photo by Bill Krasean.

By Sue Moore

The Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center (VCAC) has partnered with the Kalamazoo Italian American Club (KIAC) to bring the arts and culture of Italy to Vicksburg residents and visitors May 14 through May 19.

“All week long, you’ll see Italian special menu items at Rise-N-Dine, Italian-inspired soaps and lotions at PET Emporium and special window displays at Home Again Consignment. You’ll hear Italian music and see Italian art all around town,” said Syd Bastos, the center’s executive director.

Starting Monday, May 14, at 6:30, the Arts Center will host a free Italian Game Night at the Gallery, 101 E. Prairie in downtown Vicksburg. Vince Westra from the KIAC will teach people how to play Scopa, a popular Italian card game, and there will be a tournament with prizes for winners. The KIAC will also bring other popular games for display during this event.

Wine is an important beverage in the Italian community; Tuesday, May 15, at 6 p.m. Jaspare’s will be hosting a wine tasting. Wine experts will be on hand to share the significance of wine in Italian-American families. Food will be paired with this event. Tickets are $20 per person. Seating is limited and reservations are required.

“Sicily is known for its sausage. Although we can’t take you there, we found the next best thing,” Bastos said. Chris Capalbo will share how Italians make sausage on Wednesday, May 16 at 6 p.m. at Youz Guys Sausage, 8847 Portage Road. “Not only will we get a peek at their traditional methods of hand-crafting sausage, we will be able to sample some of their unbelievable sausages. Although this is a free event, space is limited so you’ll want to reserve a spot,” she said.

On Thursday, the community will have a chance to meet author Bob Cinabro, long-time Kalamazoo city attorney and city commissioner for two terms after that. He will talk about his book, “An Ellis Island Story: The Cinabros – A Recollection” at the Vicksburg District Library at 6:30 p.m. Stop by the Distant Whistle for Trivia game night at 8 p.m. “We hear that there might be a few questions about Italy,” Bastos teased.

Love old movies? Linda Adams selected “Three Coins in the Fountain” for the Vicksburg Library’s Movie Afternoons for Adults program on Friday, May 18 at 1 p.m. This movie garnered two Academy Awards in 1954 and stars Clifton Webb and Dorothy McGuire. It’s a classic and follows the story of three American women sharing an apartment in Rome.
If all of this talk about Italian roots sets people to thinking about their own roots, Adams invites them to join the Kalamazoo Valley Genealogical Society at the Vicksburg Library on Saturday, May 19 at 1 p.m. to learn how to get started with their own genealogical search.

Finally, Saturday night, the VCAC will be presenting Destination: Italy at 5:30 p.m. at the Main Street Pub’s Banquet Room in downtown Vicksburg. While listening to live classical music, enjoy Italian scenes through the eyes of photographer Shirley Weyrauch and pastel artist Helen Kleczynski. The KIAC will provide a pesto-making demonstration by Jack Bellware to whet guests’ whistle for a gastronomical tour of Italy, specially created by Michael Moore and his staff. The tour continues with a fabulous dessert tour of Italy from Via Gelato. Guest speaker Bob Cinabro will talk about the split personality of Italy. Tickets must be reserved in advance through the Arts Center and are $30.

Contact Syd Bastos at (269)501-1347 for further information and reservations for the wine tasting, sausage tour or dinner event. Ciao!

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