Sidestreets Deli, Charlotte’s own New York-style deli, started out as an East Lansing deli in 1986 and opened a second location in Lansing in 1991. That’s where both Jay and Lindsey Hull were employed and started dating in 1995. Their manager at Sidestreets, the late Dennis Carter, always credited himself with being the matchmaker that brought the couple together. They married in June of 2001.
As part of their twentieth anniversary celebration, Jay planned a special trip down memory lane to surprise his wife. Their first stop was the Cooley Gardens in Lansing, where the couple tied the knot amongst the flowers. Charlar Place in Holt, now known as The Hidden Gem, was their next stop, which was where they held their reception.
The next destination was a real step back in time. The two Lansing area Sidestreets Delis are long gone, but they headed to Charlotte to visit their former employers, Dave and Rose McNamara, the founders of Sidestreets Deli in Lansing and East Lansing. The McNamaras now own just the one location in Charlotte. With perfect and lucky timing, both Dave and Rose were working in the store when the couple arrived and introduced themselves.
“I was in shock when I realized who they were,” David McNamara said. “I remember Jay, he was about 18 or 19 back then. It brought back a lot of memories from the old stores and the crazy things we used to do.”
“They still have the awesome cheese bread I remember,” Lindsey said. “It just made me realize that so many things have changed over the years, but some things still remain the same.” Lindsey was a social work major at Michigan State University when working at Sidestreets, and now is the Chief Executive Officer of Shiawassee Health & Wellness.
Sidestreets Deli was a great place to work, both Hulls stated, with a real family atmosphere.
The Hulls live in Perry now and have a 19-year-old son. McNamara urged them to get their son to apply to work at the deli, just like they did. “It would be fun to make it a generational thing, with the whole family working here at some point.”
The McNamaras have had other people come in and say that they worked for them in the past, but this was extra special with the two getting and staying married for 20 years, and dropping in to visit them, McNamara stated.
Sidestreets Deli is located at 116 South Cochran in downtown Charlotte.
Whitetail Farms Farm Fresh Market, a unique, quality meat market, has seen much expansion since it opened in 2015 in Olivet. Starting as a deer processing and butcher shop, expansions have included a barbecue smokehouse, a broaster and the Whitetail Farms barbeque shack.
Owners Greg and Karen Saltzman take pride in offering a wide variety of options for their customers. “We smoke ribs and chicken daily on our Southern Pride Smoker,” said Karen Saltzman. “We stock our hot case with fresh smoked ribs and chicken from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m. each day.” Be sure to stop in for lunch daily, and pick up their delicious broaster chicken.
“We are a meat market with 29 kinds of brats made in-house. We also do our own signature smoked hunter’s sticks, summer sausage and ring bologna,” said Saltzman.
Whitetail Farms features their own smoked bacon, with flavors that include hickory smoked, peppered, jalapeno, honey whiskey and apple brandy.
For DIY home cooking, Whitetail Farms Farm Fresh Market offers a full line of USDA choice beef and pork in their serviced meat case. They also carry a customized line of fresh chicken; fresh ground beef made in-house daily; along with marinated chicken breast with choices of lemon pepper, BBQ, mesquite and garlic butter.
A complement to any meal, Whitetail Farms offers fresh Amish baked goods, fresh produce, milk and dairy products and a deli. Whitetail Farms also offers local honey and local maple syrup products, as well as propane filling and a choice of Whitetail Farm’s selection of Lumber Jack grilling pellets.
Whitetail Farms offers a full range of catering options for weddings, graduation open houses, memorial services, birthdays, and any other special occasion. They feature pulled pork and beef brisket, both smoked in-house; macaroni and cheese; baked beans; and many more additional selections are available. For more information on their unique catering options, call them at 269-749-2005 Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m.. to 7 p.m.
For those interested in shopping at Whitetail Farms Farm Fresh Market, their website (whitetailfarmsffm.com) has great information about what all this market has to offer. Check out their deli menu to see sandwiches, paninis, wraps, and salads. Also available is their hot case—stocked with their daily meals—and their broaster menu.
If you are active on social media, you can also follow their Facebook page that posts updates on the daily menu as well as closings. Whitetail Farms Farm Fresh Market is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and closed on Sunday. The building is located at 4506 West Butterfield Hwy, in Olivet, across the street from Olivet College’s Cutler Event Center.
Be sure to stop in for something to eat from their hot case or barbecue smokehouse, and treat yourself to flavors you will want to repeat over and over.
The tractors will be rolling in for the 18th Annual Bellevue Antique Tractor Show on August 13 and 14. It will be held at Washington Park in downtown Bellevue. Admission is free. Kids and adults alike will enjoy seeing the wide variety of old tractors and implements in the park.
One of the highlights of the event is the Friday and Saturday night Tractor Parades. This year it will be led by Phil Vahs, the 2021 Grand Marshal and a long-time participant of the event. The tractors will travel 10 to 12 miles around town and the trip will take about an hour.
The parade will involve twenty to thirty tractors, according to David Shumaker, one of the organizers of the event. “It’s great to be cruising the city on a tractor,” he said.
Shumaker owns 14 tractors himself and has been participating in the event for many years. This is his first time being one of the organizers, however, and his excitement is showing. “It’s a big weekend for Bellevue,” Shumaker said. “It’s a great event for the whole family.”
A wide variety of tractors are expected to attend the event, including a 1928 John Deere GP. The GP in the name stands for General Purpose. This tractor was built from 1928 to 1935 with a total production of about 36,000.
On Saturday at 10 a.m. the tractor games begin. There will be games of skill for those with tractors, such as putting a chain in a box, the slowest tractor race, dropping balls in buckets, and more.
Vendors will be open on Saturday in Washington Park. Tractor and wagon rides will be available, and there will be kids’ activities starting at 1 p.m., including a pedal pull, face painting, and more.
Two children, one boy and one girl, will be the lucky winners of a new bike if their name is drawn on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Entering the contest is easy; just drop your name in the box and a winner will be drawn. The winner must be present to win.
At noon there will be the presentation of the Grand Marshal plaque and various trophies to participants, including People’s Choice, the oldest tractor, and the tractor which was driven the farthest. Door prizes will be awarded throughout the day.
A Silent Auction will be held all day on Saturday. Money raised from the sale goes to the club to cover the expenses of the event.
The event wouldn’t happen without the help of many people, Shumaker stated. Helpers are always needed for the event.
Tractors are welcome to participate for just a day or for both days. Security will be provided both Friday and Saturday nights
For more information or to volunteer contact David Schumaker at 269-763-3457, or Darold or Carol Cheeseman at 269-758-3130.
A pontoon in Crandell Lake has drawn some attention recently, as motorized boats, gas or electric, are normally not allowed on the lake. On August 5, the Eaton Conservation District and Eaton County Parks will be performing a study of the lake and will be surveying the lake for invasive aquatic plants. Conservation workers and volunteers will be on the pontoon boat to determine what is growing under the water surface and if it should be there.
Crandell Park, a 432-acre Eaton County-owned property, is Eaton County Parks and Recreation’s newest property, located along M-50 just west of Stewart Road. The lake, a former gravel pit, measures almost 160 acres and has depths up to 35 feet. The park is still in the developmental stage but has had several upgrades recently, including a restroom, benches placed, and an improved parking area.
The researchers will go to several fixed GPS points on the lake to sample the plant life; these same points were surveyed in the past and will be used to make comparisons. The information obtained will help determine the health of the lake and reduces the probability of an exotic invasive species becoming a large, unmanageable population.
Some of the invasive plants they are hoping not to find are the Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), the curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus), Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata), Starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa), and the European frogbit ((Hydrocharis morsusranae).
How do these invasive plants get into our local bodies of water? They might attach onto boats, trailers, motors, and fishing gear. Leftover live bait dumped into the lake might have the plant material with it. Plants can be tangled in fishing lines and cables, or even stuck on the soles of your waders. Your dog might have plant material trapped in the mud on its paws.
These plants can grow into dense mats at the surface and compete with the native plants for space and light. The mats create a poor habitat for juvenile and spawning fish and can destroy a lake’s ecosystem. Heavy plant growth can tangle fishing lines, clogs boat props, and restrict other activities like swimming and paddling.
The Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch Program (EAPW) is part of the MiCorps Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP). Early detection and rapid response are critical to prevent the invasion of plants that may damage the environment.
If you would like more information about the program contact Sue Spagnuoluo at the Eaton County Conservation District Office by calling 517-543-1512 x5, or by visiting their website at eatoncd.org.
It’s summertime, COVID-19 worries are reduced, and the festivals and events we look forward to are returning to Eaton County. The fifth annual Visit Vermontville Day will take place on August 7 in the village of Vermontville. It promises to be a fun day with lots of activities for the whole family, including a flea market, kid’s games, a farmers’ market, a pancake breakfast, musical entertainment, and more. Vermontville is jumping back into living life after the pandemic and is hosting several exciting events this summer. The Visit Vermontville Day team is busy making all the final arrangements for a lot of fun events for all ages. The team is composed of members of the community and the events are not sponsored by the Vermontville Village Council and/or their employees. The summer events kicked off with a new event; an Amish Visit Vermontville Day was held on June 26. The Vermontville Amish community offers a wide variety of businesses that many are not aware of, so this event was initiated to help everyone realize that they are there. They include bakeries, gift shops, groceries, bulk stores, cabinetry, and fencing installers, and much more. Nineteen businesses participated, and from all accounts, everyone had a great day despite the rainy weather, with many visitors, with groups of five to ten people at a time. Maps are still available at Sunset Bakery on Vermontville Highway, JoLei’s Diner in Vermontville, and the M-79 Grocery on the corner of M-79 and Ionia Road for those interested in visiting the businesses. Coming up soon are community garage sales on July 15, 16, and 17 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. To sign up for your sale visit their Facebook page #VisitVermontvilleDay, by email email@example.com, or call 517-231-5629. Due to some work being done involving gas main and water works, it may require a little extra walking, but all sales will be accessible. Visit Vermontville Day is happening on August 7. There will be a flea market, kid’s games, and lots of entertainment. There are still spots available for flea market vendors on Main Street; call or message #VisitVermontvilleDay on Facebook to get more information or call 517-231-5629. The Maple Valley Band Boosters will be serving up pancakes with pure maple syrup from 8 a.m. until noon at the Community Center. The Vermontville Town Library will be in the park with activities, including a story walk. They will be joined by the Farmers Market. Those with tractors are invited to bring them to share with the public during the event. Always a favorite, there will be a Pedal Tractor Pull for kids at noon. Even more exiting will be the bike give-away for kids ages two to fifteen. The last giveaway had 20 bikes to give to children, and the Team is hoping to repeat that again this year. They are still seeking donations of new bikes, from tricycles up to adult size. Contact the Team if you can help. Music will be provided for Visit Vermontville Day by the Voodoo DJs. There is a dancing area in front of the stage, along with benches to just sit and watch. There will be a car cruise on Saturday, September 25. It’s the second annual Classic Car Cruise and will also feature a street dance. No registration is required; just cruise in and join the party. Music at the Car Cruise will be provided by Blind Ambition.
Prominent on the Potterville city flag is the motto “City of Helping Hands.” That is definitely the case when it comes to organizing a big event in a small town like Potterville. The 2021 Gizzard Fest is just around the corner, on June 11 and 12, and Brandy Hatt, Potterville Zoning Administrator and a member of the festival planning committee, says it’s been entirely a team effort, involving the City, citizens, and the Potterville Chamber of Business.
“It wouldn’t have happened otherwise,” Hatt said. Many years ago, the event started out as Potterville Days. In 1994, it became the Gizzard Fest. The last Gizzard Fest was held in 2016 and ended because there were no funds and no volunteers, she explained. The event was missed by many, and last year a committee was formed to bring it back. The event was all ready to go, but due to COVID-19, it had to be canceled.
It’s back on the calendar for 2021, though. This year features festivities all day on Friday and Saturday,” Hatt said, and thousands are expected to attend. The festival, and the Potterville restaurant Joe’s Gizzard City, made national news when it was featured on the second season of the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
“It has been a real team effort,” Hatt said. “The event has brought the citizens of Potterville together to make sure that it happens. Everything is being sponsored by someone in town.”
The fun starts Friday morning with vendors on Main Street at 9 a.m. and goes all day, culminating with a chicken-themed parade at 6 p.m., followed by Another Clucking 5K run at 7:30 p.m., and a Block Party on Main Street at 8 p.m. The Block party features Be Kind Rewind band, a Boston-based ‘90s Alternative Tribute band. This is a family-friendly event and will have food trucks and vendors.
The parade committee selected Maureen Storie as the Grand Marshall for the parade. Storie has been active in the community and created Potterville Gives Back, a non-profit that sponsors food drives, toy drives, backpack drives, and Earth Day cleanup. The group will be doing a cleanup event after Gizzard Fest.
This year’s event also features a Gizzard Fest Queen. Selected for the honor is Georgia Fry, a real “sassy pants,” according to Hatt. Fry has been very involved in Potterville for years along with her late husband Ken Fry. “She just loves Potterville!” Hatt said.
There will be gizzards to eat, of course, including a gizzard eating contest where the first person to devour two pounds of deep-fried gizzards is the winner. For those with a sweeter tooth, the pancake breakfast on Saturday morning will be something you will enjoy. Along with the breakfast, there will be a silent auction with lots of special treasures to purchase.
Gizzard Fest won’t disappoint those who are into music. Saturday will feature three different bands, and headlines Global Village, “premier party band of the Lansing area” that plays 70s, 80s, and 90s music. Smooth Street Variety Band and Stone Street Revival Band are also performing.
A carnival, a beverage tent, vendors, fair rides and carnival food, a classic car show, a corn hole tournament, line dancing, and a softball tournament are all on the schedule.
For more information, or to volunteer or donate, call 517-281-5659. For a complete schedule of events and information visit the festival website at gizzardfest.org.
Despite the high temperatures of the day, the Civil War Discovery camp sponsored by the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall and Museum proved to be great fun and a great way to learn American history.
It’s the sixth year for this one-day camp. Fifteen children, ages 8 to 14, participated in this hands-on history lesson on Aug. 10 and discovered what a day in the life of a Civil War soldier might have been like.
Ten adults in period-correct clothing (including heavy woolen uniforms) provided the historical education. In the past, the event was held at the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Island Park. Due to construction on the Island, the event was moved to Howe Field.
“We miss being on the Island, but this has worked out fine,” said Chris Allen, who coordinated the events of the day. Allen is the vice president of the Museum’s Board of Directors. He stepped up when Keith Harrison, the President of the Museum, had some health issues and was unable to attend. The city was helpful in accessing Howe Field, Allen said, which also has some construction going on.
The GAR Island Park has special significance to the GAR as it was the location where the Eaton County Civil War Veterans held their annual reunions from 1908 until 1929.
“We have a great group of volunteers. None of this would be possible without them,” Allen said. The volunteers are re-enactors from Jackson, Concord, Williamston, and beyond; most are members of Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
The children were invited to discover what a day in the life of a Civil War soldier might have been like. They practiced marching and drilling with wooden muskets, participated in a mock battle, learned about the food a soldier would have eaten and the items he carried with him.
Information about the role of women in the Civil War was highlighted during the day, with the stories of Annie Etheridge and Sarah Edmonds.
“What we hope to do is instill a spark of interest in history,” Allen said.
“They’ve been talking about it all week long,” said Kelly Caber, the mother of two campers from Springport, “especially about the shooting and getting money when they muster out.”
A highlight of the day for the campers was being able to fire reproduction Civil War-era muskets. Safety precautions are taken, which include the wearing of safety glasses and earplugs. Their excitement was obvious when a mock battle, using wooden muskets, was staged, the blue versus gray. Battle cries were heard and military strategies were used, but the Rebels were the clear winner of the battle.
“My favorite part of the day is seeing their faces light up when they fire a musket,” Allen said. “And when they argue over who gets to carry the flag in battle.”
At the end of the day, campers were “mustered out” of the military and received their discharge papers and $13 in “pay” back at the museum. The Museum plans on hosting the event again next year.
For more information about the Civil War Discovery Camp, contact the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall and Museum by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 517-922-6427. You can find them on Facebook or visit their website at garmuseum.com.