Classic ‘Sip Fest kept us busy all week

Published 6:07 am Wednesday, March 20, 2024

I’m still getting used to all the annual happenings in Vicksburg, and that will obviously continue for the better part of the next year. Until mid-December, every one of these yearly occurrences some of you guys may be used to by now will still be totally new for me, and the latest first came last week during Classic ‘Sip Fest.

Now I do understand that ‘Sip Fest is only in its second year, but it gave me a chance to check out some places around Vicks-
burg for the very first time. For instance, until last week’s kickoff party — just across the street from our office — I had yet to venture past the front counter of the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum. I saw a lot of cool stuff once I passed through the doorway
just beyond the front counters, but something caught my eye even before I made it that far: Apparently, judging by the glass Coca-Cola bottles on display in the front of the museum, Alabama’s Paul “Bear” Bryant’s appearance on a bottled Coke is far from the only time the company promoted a university or one of its sports teams. And all this time we thought we were just
that special over to the east of here. I’m kidding. But, only a little.

‘Sip Fest also allowed me to finally do something I’ve been wanting to try out since I moved back to the Vicksburg area in mid-2020: take a walk over the old Highway 80 bridge. I get that might not seem like a big deal if you’ve grown up doing it, but this was my first opportunity to walk out above the waters of the country’s most famous river and actually stop and appreciate where I was and what I was doing. It was a little cold and windy, but definitely worth it for the unique experience.

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And there were plenty of other neat moments peppered throughout the week thanks to ‘Sip Fest. From Evan Brister performing downtown Thursday during Classic Shops and Soda Pops to getting a look inside The Duff Green Mansion and The Inn at Cedar Grove, I was able to experience a lot on my ever-growing list of stuff in town to check out.

Saturday was a great way to top it all off with a trip across the bridge to the Southern Heritage Air Foundation (SHAF) at the Vicksburg Tallulah Regional Airport. This particular location is not new to me at all. In fact, it was one of the first places I visited when I moved to the area for the first time way back in 2014. SHAF President Patty Mekus and company are always both warm and welcoming and very impressive in the work they do and their dedication to doing it right. If you’ve never been to check out the SHAF museum and its chronicling of aviation history — particularly during World War II — I can’t recommend it highly enough. And the museum is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what SHAF does for the communities it represents.

So, in summation, I have to call the Classic ‘Sip Fest a huge success, at least on my own personal scale of cool things to see and do. We’ll definitely follow up with everyone who had a hand in putting it all on to see how it went in the eyes of those more qualified to make that call, but I certainly enjoyed it and, from what I saw, so did a lot of other people.

Blake Bell is the general manager and executive editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at