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Biking, running ‘cultural expedition’ traveling the Mississippi arrives in Vicksburg Tuesday



Relay for Voices participants Tom and Victoria Bradford Styrbicki at the start of their journey.

Relay of Voices, a four-month long biking and running expedition from the headwaters to the mouth of the Mississippi River, is coming through Vicksburg tomorrow, Oct. 8.

Relay began its trip in Minnesota last July. Its mission is to collect individual stories across the Mississippi River region. Relay is listening deeply with no agenda, seeking to understand why people make a home in this region of the country so often prey to declining populations, poverty, and strife.

The effort is spearheaded by Executive and Artistic Director Victoria Bradford Styrbicki with the assistance of her husband, Tom, support staff and regional volunteers. Team members include certified triathlon coach Nic King-Ruley, and project manager Dinah Bradford.

Relay for Voices will be arriving in Vicksburg at approximately 9:30 a.m. at the Warren County State Welcome Center, 4210 Washington St. While here, Relay plans to “relay the voices” and landscapes from Tallulah, La., to connect them to the stories of Vicksburg. The public is invited to witness and participate in this storytelling process.

Relay is working with 104 communities, 20 to 40 miles apart, as it travels downriver through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana, finishing at the mouth of the river at the Gulf of Mexico in November.

“We want to create a platform for listening with the body in and around the communities of the Mississippi River,” Styrbicki said in a release. “As we build a physical vocabulary drawn from the lives of the people of Vicksburg … we hope a story emerges that resonates beyond the river and connects all Americans. Through accumulation and just being present, we hope to be a catalyst for all the voices of Vicksburg while also providing insightful data for scientific purposes.”

Relay has vetted each stop along the way to provide an accurate representation of both the river and the diverse communities surrounding it. A primary reason for choosing the Mississippi River region was the contrast of rural and urban communities, with many making a living off the water and land. The river is home to a collection of small towns ranging between 200 and 60,000 in population anchored by seven cities with populations over 100,000.

With the help of the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau a broad cross-section of city residents has been asked to serve as the “voices” of Vicksburg. They come from different age groups, cultural backgrounds and professions. Those participating include: Mayor George Flaggs Jr., Herman Smith, Emily Tillman, Linda Fondren, Lesley Silver, Layne Logue and Patrick Smith.

“We are so excited to assist the Relay for Voices team as they travel down the Mississippi River telling the stories of our river cities,” said Laura Beth Strickland, executive director of Visit Vicksburg in the release. “The Mississippi River is a huge part of what makes Vicksburg special, and we can’t wait to see how Victoria and her team bring together some of our stories.”

On the morning of Oct. 8, Vicksburg will be approached by surrogate walkers, runners, cyclists, and paddlers from neighboring river communities.

When no regional surrogates’ step in to carry the voices downriver, Styrbicki approaches the distance as a duathlon—a run out of town, cycling the longer stretch between, followed by a run into the next town. Styrbicki and her husband will “gather the landscape” making observations with their senses as well as with GPS body cameras mounted to their torsos or bikes for use in mapping analysis and storytelling.

Relay has partnered with 29 Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs),19 Chambers of Commerce, 30 arts, culture and educational organizations, 45 city and county governments, as well as hundreds of individual volunteers in each community to solidify programming and to assist with accommodations, transportation, event space and nourishment to support the expedition as it travels south. Other partners include the Great River Road, Mississippi River Network, Water Institute of the Gulf and Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board.

Relay of Voices is a project of A House Unbuilt, a nonprofit corporation based in Lake Charles, La., and Chicago.

For more information, visit the Relay of Voices website and A House Unbuilt website.


‘A Nightmare on Crawford Street’ Monster Bash party on Saturday



Monster Bash at the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation

 Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation is holding its annual “Monster Bash”  on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 7 to 10 p.m.

The adult Halloween costume party is part of the SCHF’s month-long “A Nightmare on Crawford Street” celebration, which also includes a a Haunted Halloween Ghost Hunt with Mississippi Paranormal Society on Oct. 26.

Monster Bash attendees are encouraged to wear costumes and participate in the costume contest. 

The Chill

In addition, enjoy some great food, signature cocktails and music by local band, The Chill.

“The Cultural Center is all about offering events for the community to enjoy,” said Stacey Mahoney, SCHF director. “Monster Bash is one of those events. We decided that we wanted to go big with this one and get The Chill to play. We are excited and can’t wait for this weekend. Come in costume and get ready to have an awesome time.”

Monster Bash tickets are $25 per person or $40 for couples and can be purchased online or by contacting the SCHF during regular business hours at 601-631-2997. Be sure to visit the SCHF website or Facebook page for more information.

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Show off your fur baby at this year’s Howl-O-Ween Celebration



Photo by Nancy Wong.

This coming Saturday, the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market will hold its annual Howl-O-Ween Celebration

Oct. 19,from 8 to 11 a.m. in the Washington Street Park, local vendors will have various food items and fall products. In addition, the market is hosting live music, trick or treating for children and the young at heart, and a pet costume contest.

 Pet owners are welcome to dress up their pets to compete for a prize donated by the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

 The pet costume contest begins at 10 a.m. and all entries must be registered by 9 a.m. that morning. Pre-register by email  ( or by calling 601-801-3513. You can also register at the market on Oct. 19.

For more information visit the Howl-O-Ween Facebook page.

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New school to hold informational meeting Sunday



Photo from the 12k Academy Facebook page.

A new private school will be opening in Vicksburg in November.

The school, 12k Academy, based in Brandon, will hold an informational meeting tomorrow, Oct. 13, at 3:30 p.m. at the Shoney’s Restaurant, 3313 Pemberton Square Blvd.

For more information, see the 12k Facebook page.

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