Big Ratchet

What are some things that you can do here in Big Rapids?

In the Fall…
By: Travis Sacher | Torch Reporter

According to, 6 out of every 100 Ferris State students are from a state other than Michigan. Although many out-of-state students come from bordering states like Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, the list of states does not end there.

I’m originally from southern New York, but have grown to truly appreciate the city of Big Rapids in my two years as a student. There is a continuously growing list of exciting and worthwhile activities for students to take part in, both on and off campus.

One off-roading sport new to me is two-tracking, or driving trucks or other automobiles through the dirty and muddy backcountry roads surrounding Big Rapids. Even if you do not drive, riding along with friends is a fun and relaxing relief from the residence halls.

Big Rapids has some excellent shops and restaurants in the heart of town. Schuberg’s Bar and Grill has the best burger in town and Nawal’s is a delicious Mediterranean Eatery and gourmet cupcakes and desserts shop. Just across the Maple Street bridge is the A La Mode Café, a home- style restaurant that is great for Saturday or Sunday breakfast.

There are multiple pawn shops and consignment stores in Big Rapids, all of which hold some form of hidden gems within their walls. These stores are great for college students on limited budgets. I have picked up a bicycle, headphones, CDs, records, video games, sporting equipment, hats and furniture. Everything I have bought has been in fine condition and immensely cheaper than if I purchased these items brand new.

Just like any college town, Big Rapids is home to many different bars. If you want to grab a bite and watch the game, Applebee’s and Buffalo Wild Wings are perfect. The Gypsy Nickel Lounge is on the other side of town and has great food and karaoke nights. The Gate has bowling, beer-pong tournaments and occasionally live music or comedians. The Raven offers delicious BBQ, a lounge area and live music.

Lastly, students will quickly become familiar with the “nightclub” of Big Rapids, Star Shooters, a popular Friday and Saturday night destination. Although, Shooters Friday After Class special on wings may be the best deal any bar or restaurant in the town has to offer.

This is just a small sample of surprising and exciting things to do in Big Rapids. Take the time to explore Big Rapids to see what else the city has to offer.

In the summer…
By: Jen Corrie | Torch Reporter

Some guy in my English class this past semes- ter said that he never knew Big Rapids had a Dairy Queen, so I’ll be the bearer of good news. The north end of State Street has had one ever since I can remember, so at least 20 years. However, it’s not a Dairy Queen anymore as of this year. Now it’s called State Street Scoops and no longer sells DQ-exclusive items, but it’s still a great place to go if you have a hankering for ice cream. I recently got a strawberry shake there, and it was quite delicious.

Behind State Street Scoops is Mitchell Park. It’s a pleasant area in the warmer months, especially if you have some ice cream with you. There’s also a pretty cool new dome-like sculpture sitting in the park courtesy of some Ferris welding students.

If you’ve never had a burger at Szots Bar, then you’re seriously missing out. Go get one and tell them I sent you.

Keeping on trend with food, if you’ve never been to Van Brocklin’s Bakery on the north side of town, you need to go. If you get there early in the morning, you can get your hands on a delectable cream cheese Danish (they go fast for a reason!) or a Bear Claw.

Interestingly enough, Big Rapids also has an airport. Roben-Hood Airport is also north of town and services small recreational aircraft. If you take summer classes, or will be here over the summer, there’s a cool event for the public called Air Fest. You can get a breakfast of pancakes that are flipped onto your plate from the chef, and go for a ride in a plane with one of the pilots. I’ve been on two plane rides so far, and I got to see an aerial view of Big Rapids and beyond. It’s pretty cool. The Farmer’s Market is also up and running downtown during the summer and early fall. You can get delicious fresh fruit, vegetables, baked goods and local honey from the market. There’s also a guy there who makes and sells fresh kettle corn on the spot. He’s my fave.

Finally, The Old Pioneer Store isn’t really a secret, since it’s in a main area of town. However, that store has been one of my favorite places in Big Rapids since I was little. They sell Kilwin’s products (chocolates, ice cream- the works), old fashioned candy and gifts. I always thought that there was something magical about that store as a kid. I would take a deep breath when I walked in, because it smells so amazing. Then I’d get my Blue Moon ice cream and sit with my brother at the tiny table and chairs that accompanies the normal-sized ones and feel content with the world. Ahh, memories.