By Jef Rietsma
The pinnacle of Vicksburg’s 150th anniversary lived up to the hype, as village officials confidently labeled the Oct. 15 event a success.
An estimated 2,000 people took part in the afternoon and evening celebration, which centered on closed-to-traffic South Main and East Prairie streets. The fanfare featured food trucks, live music, games and vendors.
Village President Tim Frisbie acknowledged he had the good fortune of holding the municipal title during such a milestone moment.
“It is an honor and what is most exciting about this is the recognition and accolades the town is getting from the federal government, the state and county commissioners,” Frisbie said. “As for what’s going on here today, I’m old enough to remember when Vicksburg had its centennial celebration and we wanted to make it as big and memorable as that.”
Frisbie said he is proud of the village, its staff and the residents who take pride in the community. Frisbie also singled out Village Manager Jim Mallery for getting the municipality heading in the right direction.
“Jim came in six years ago when we were a train wreck destined to go off the end of a bridge, but he turned things around and has us going down the right road now,” he said. “Planning, preparation, planning and more planning. The amount of planning required to get us where we are can’t be overstated.”
Organization of the village’s sesquicentennial celebration has been a team effort, though Frisbie conceded the lion’s share of work has come from Alex Lee, director of community engagement. Lee has played a role in creating a series of monthly events to commemorate the village’s 150-year anniversary. Another event overseen by Lee returns in December: Christmas Card Lane.
Meanwhile, attendees at the Oct. 15 celebration said they were aware in advance of the event and planned accordingly.
“We had a plan to be here, I’m glad we came; it’s really neat to be alive and here when Vicksburg turns 150 years old,” said Vicksburg resident Jason Phillips. “I like that we have safe neighborhoods, people are friendly, and you look around at all the people on the downtown streets right now and you have to love the community feel of Vicksburg.”
Michelle Thomas, a Texas Corners resident, said she had seen a number of online posts about the downtown celebration and was curious to see if it would be as fun as it sounded.
“I told my daughter we should go down, walk around and she bumped into a friend from school, so it has turned out to be a great night so far,” she said. “I love that Vicksburg really seems to go out of its way to create that small-town feel and tonight is a great example of that.”
Austin Junde and Vicksburg High School classmates Cole Morand and Jacob McGehee, were taking time to enjoy the comforts of Oswalt Park. Junde described the sandwich he ordered from Scott’s Pig Roast food truck.
“It’s called the Heart Attack – pulled pork, mac and cheese, and chicken tenders,” he said. “It falls apart and it’s real messy so you have to eat it with a fork.”
Junde said a few teachers have been discussing the fact 2022 is Vicksburg’s anniversary. He said the amount of history in the village is impressive — and proclaimed he will be in attendance at the village’s bicentennial celebration in 2072.
Vicksburg’s Christmas in the Village celebration is Dec. 10.
By Jef Rietsma