Friday, July 29, 2011

Vicksburg Farmers' Market

Vicksburg Farmers Market
LOCATION: corner of Jackson & 
Washington Streets
     *up the hill from the Depot
Saturdays, 8:00-11:00 a.m.
Wednesdays, 4:00-7:00 p.m

It's the last Saturday market!     

**Heather Burns will return with Just Desserts
**Dogwood Hollow Farm will have goat cheese
**Hamilton Farms will be on site to sell local honey
**Master Gardeners present on Recycling
**Growers offer peppers, eggplant, squash, tomatoes,
zucchini, beans, peas, and corn from area farms.
Plus Smith County watermelons! 


1 large eggplant
1/4 cup tahini, plus more as needed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
1 pinch ground cumin
salt, to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup brine-cured black olives, such as kalamata


Preheat an oven to 375°F.
Prick the eggplant with a fork in several places
and place on the grill rack 4 to 5 inches from the
Grill, turning frequently, until the skin blackens
and blisters and the flesh just begins to feel
soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet and
bake until very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, let cool slightly,
and peel off and discard the skin.
Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl
Using a fork, mash the eggplant to a paste.
Add the 1/4 cup tahini, the garlic, the 1/4 cup
lemon juice and the cumin and mix well.
Season with salt, then taste and add more
tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed.
Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and
spread with the back of a spoon to form a
shallow well.
Drizzle the olive oil over the top and
sprinkle with the parsley.
Place the olives around the sides.
More about us
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Our sponsors: Vicksburg Main Street & City of Vicksburg
Find us on Facebook
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to your friends.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gold In the Hills

Villain Richard Murgatroyd confronts heroine Nell Stanley in the nation's longest-running melodramas.

As mustachioed Richard Murgatroyd strides across the stage at the Parkside Playhouse in Vicksburg, Miss. (pop. 26,407), spectator Carlie Thomas raises a ruckus with other audience members.

Cupping her mouth with her hands, Thomas, 27, yells “BOOO” repeatedly at Murgatroyd, the villainous city slicker. Thomas’ friend, Courtney Owens, 27, takes a deep breath and lets out a loud hiss.Such outbursts are expected—and encouraged—during performances of Gold in the Hills, the longest-running melodrama in the United States. Since 1936, audiences have cheered for innocent farm girl Nell Stanley and homespun hero John Dalton and jeered the conniving Murgatroyd. They’ve sung 1890s songs with the performers between scenes and clapped wildly when good triumphed over evil.

“It’s an art form that you don’t see much anymore,” says director John Hesselberg, 49, about Victorian-era melodramas, which were popular live theater shows from the mid-1800s until the 1920s. The plays feature stereotypical characters, including damsels in distress and deceitful villains, and moralistic messages about social issues, such as the evils of alcohol.

“Melodramas involve music and exaggerated gestures and dialogue,” Hesselberg says.''  

During Gold in the Hills, lively piano music accompanies the heroine’s entrance, while menacing minor chords alert the audience when dastardly deeds are afoot. Before microphones, the dramatic music and exaggerated acting helped spectators, especially those seated at the back of the theater, follow the plot toward its satisfying happy ending.

Community treasure
Gold in the Hills, however, is more than family entertainment each March and July in Vicksburg. The melodrama is a community treasure first staged on March 28, 1936, on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers barge on the Mississippi River. In 1948, the melodrama relocated to the retired steam-powered Sprague towboat moored along the river. When fire destroyed the Sprague in 1974, the production was staged in a local church until the 250-seat Parkside Playhouse was built in 1978.

“The charming thing about Gold in the Hills is that some of the cast members today are children of the original cast members,” says producer Mike Calnan, 62.

Walter Johnston Jr., 63, who plays dancehall owner Big Mike, attended shows on the Sprague as a young boy and cheered for his father, Walter Johnston Sr., who played the hero and other parts from 1936 until 1964.

“It’s a family tradition and a Vicksburg tradition,” says Johnston, who stepped into the hero’s role himself in 1965, and whose children and other family members have acted in the melodrama through the years.

William Mathews, 61, likewise joined the cast as a teenager and for 42 years has relished his role as conniving Murgatroyd.

“The villain has a lot more gutsy part,” Mathews says. “He’s the mover and shaker in the whole play. I do enjoy the part more, though, without the peanuts,” he says, noting that peanut throwing by the audience ended in 2006 to discourage rodents from infesting the theater.

Cheering and jeering endure, though, as Carlie Thomas shouts “NOOO” when the villain steals a hidden stash of cash from the play’s honest farm family.

“I’m having so much fun,” she says to her friend, Owens.  (July 10, 2011)  
Photos by Greg Campbell

Friday, July 8, 2011

Vicksburg Farmers' Market

 Vicksburg Farmers Market Washington Streets
LOCATION: corner of Jackson & 
     *up the hill from the Depot
Saturdays, 8:00-11:00 a.m.
Wednesdays, 4:00-7:00 p.m


**Hamilton Farms will be on site to sell local honey
again this week
**Master Gardeners teach how to create
a bonsai tree
**Growers offer peppers, eggplant, squash, tomatoes,
zucchini, beans, peas, and corn from area farms. Plus
Smith County watermelons!
**Bakers sell artisan breads, cakes, cookies,
and preserves

We know that you see this call for volunteers each 
week.  And when you see the same thing over and 
over, you may grow numb to the request.  But, 
seriously, we have only 2 full time volunteers for 
the market and -- if we want it to continue -- we 
need more people to help with the market on 
Saturdays.  Come for the whole day, or come for 
part of the day, but please help us. If you shop, 
it'd be great if you could also volunteer, at least
 for a little while. Thanks to Barbara Willingham, 
who helped us two weeks ago. 

If you're willing to sign up for a Saturday shift, e-mail    


1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut
into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Place eggplant slices in a colander over a plate; 
sprinkle with salt and gently toss. Let stand for 
30 minutes. Rinse and drain well. Coat both sides 
of each slice with nonstick cooking spray. Place 
on a broiler pan. Top eggplant with tomatoes, 
basil and cheeses. Broil 6 in. from the heat for
 5-7 minutes or until eggplant is tender and 
cheese is melted.
More about us
E-mail Us
Our sponsors: Vicksburg Main Street &
City of Vicksburg
Find us on Facebook
Click here to join our mailing list.  And please
forward this letter to your friends.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The New Miss Mississippi!

VICKSBURG, Miss - The 2011 Miss Mississippi Pageant is officially in the history books. The new Miss Mississippi has been crowned and her name is Mary Margaret Roark.

Roark, a veteran of the Miss Mississippi's Outstanding Teen Pageant and second-year contestant in the Miss Mississippi Pageant, is currently attending Mississippi State University and is majoring in communications and would like to pursue a career in the broadcast industry. She is a native of Cleveland, Mississippi and graduated from Bayou Academy in 2009.

The daughter of Fred and Mary Jo Roark, Mary Margaret developed her own platform to promote thanks to a very personal experience that she had watching her grandmother progress through Alzheimer's. Due to that experience, she is a proud advocate for the Mississippi Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and has created her own campaign to promote Alzheimer's awareness throughout the state called JEWELS for Alzheimer's.

JEWELS is an acronym which stands for:
    Join the cause to
    Educate the public and
    Work for a cure while
    Encouraging those who
    Live with the disease and
    Supporting those who care for them.

          Mary Margaret says, "JEWELS For Alzheimer's summarizes everything that I hope for with Alzheimer's Disease. With my campaign, I have promoted awareness among communities in the state to recruit more activists and to raise more funds for research and care centers. I have also started a jewelry collection for JEWELS For Alzheimer's with the help of jewelry designer, Alex Bowen. A portion of all sales from the jewelry is donated to local Alzheimer's Association chapters to help with their expenses. My experience with Alzheimer's began with my grandmother, but with the help of others, my mission is growing and will continue to grow until we find a cure."

          We will be interviewing Mary Margaret a little later today and will have that interview posted tomorrow morning here on the Miss Mississippi website.

          For those of you who were not able to see the pageant on television last night, we apologize. One of our television stations had a difficulty receiving our satellite signal and has said that they will re-broadcast the event so that all may see it. Those of you with an Internet connection can watch the Miss Mississippi Pageant in it's entirety by clicking on the WATCH link on the menu to the left.

          Article by Chris Whittington -

          Mississippi Blog List