By Sue Moore
This year’s seniors at Vicksburg High School were starting third grade when the annual Community Tailgate was first organized. The administration wanted to get athletes, parents and students in the mood to come back to school in the fall. The Community Education department had received so many requests from local businesses to show their wares to this same group that they decided it could best be accomplished by bringing all of these groups together for one rousing start to the year.
From that 2008 start, the event has grown to include over 30 booths and 1,200 attendees in 2017 and major sponsorships by Frederick Construction, the Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation, Denney Veterinary and this year, DeNooyer Ford and Paper City Development LLC/The Mill.
The Tailgate runs from 4:30-6:30 on Thursday, Aug. 30 between the Middle School and the High School walkway, preceding the football game between Vicksburg and Allegan at 7 p.m. with the Big Red Machine band kicking off the on-field excitement at 6:45. At the Tailgate, there will be free hot dogs, chips and water for all attendees along with trinkets and ice cream passed out by vendors in attendance.
The tradition has taken hold with parents, grandparents, teachers and students taking an opportunity to reacquaint, while learning what organizations and businesses in the community have to offer. It will also be a good chance to view the courtyard and high school parking lot improvements connecting the stadium and the school building. “It’s truly a community celebration,” said Alyssa Thompson, head of the district’s community education department.