Visitors to Starkville can enjoy festivals and special events every season of the year. Those listed below are held annually.
Mississippi Horse Park and Agricenter, 716 East Poorhouse Road, Starkville, (662) 325-9350
See many breeds of dogs compete in conformation shows, obedience trials, and rally trials at the annual dog show of the Golden Triangle Kennel Club of Mississippi. The show is licensed by the American Kennel Club.
Magnolia Independent Film Festival
Hollywood Premier Cinemas, Starkville (662) 324-3080
Mississippi’s first film festival, founded in 1997, the Magnolia Independent Film Festival provides the opportunity to view offerings from independent filmmakers. Films are juried during the year and judged at the festival’s conclusion, with awards given. The categories include narrative, documentary, student, experimental, and animation films. Receptions, workshops, and luncheons are held for festival-goers.
Dudy Gras Parade
Main Street, Starkville, and Dudy Noble Field, Mississippi State University
This Maroon and White, Mardi Gras-themed parade is a local tradition and marks the unofficial beginning of the MSU baseball season. Watch floats and trailers, catch beads and doubloons, and enjoy music and tailgating as “Left-field lounges” are moved to Dudy Noble Field at lMississippi State University. The parade begins at Rick’s Cafe Americain and ends at the left field grounds of Dudy Noble Field. The Left Field Lounge area at Dudy Noble Field has been named “the country’s best tailgaiting experience” by ESPN magazine.
SYP Souper Bowl
State Theater, Main Street, Starkville, (662) 323-3322
Taste specially prepared soups from the best Starkville restaurants on the Saturday before the Super Bowl. Organized by the Starkville Young Professionals, this charity event raises funds for the United Way Chapter of North Central Mississipp.
Charles Templeton Ragtime Music Festival
Experience seminars, major performances, and miniconcerts by world-renowned ragtime musicians at the Templeton Ragtime Music Festival. Tours of the Templeton Music Museum, an extensive collection of sheet music, musical recordings, and mechanical music instruments, are given.
Everything Garden Expo
Mississippi Horse Park and Agricenter, 716 East Poorhouse Road, Starkville, (662) 324-3080; http://starkvillearts.org/events/expo.html
This celebration of the art of gardening, sponsored by the Starkville Area Arts Council, includes seminars, lectures by expert horticulturalists, children’s programs, and exhibits by vendors of garden equipment and supplies.
MSU Bulldog Classic AQHA Show
Mississippi Horse Park and Agricenter, 716 East Poorhouse Road, Starkville, (662) 325-0508
See exciting roping, barrel racing, pole bending, horsemanship, showmanship, and other competitions by youth and adult riders at this annual show sanctioned by the American Quarter Horse Association and organized by the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences at Mississippi State University.
Cotton District Arts Festival and Taste of Starkville
Historic Cotton District, Starkville, (662) 324-3080, http://starkvillearts.org/events/cdaf.html
Named one of the top 25 events by the Southeastern Tourism Society, this popular festival hosted by the Starkville Area Arts Council features a juried art exhibit, arts and crafts, live music, food from area restaurants, activities for children, a 5k run, a pet parade, and a plant show. Enjoy the Y’all Magazine Sweet Tea Challenge with categories for unique, commercial, and individual teas.
Old Main Music Festival
Amphitheater on the Mississippi State University Campus, (662) 325-3917, http://www.oldmainmusicfest.com
Enjoy performances of bluegrass, country and rock ‘n’ roll music by national touring acts in MSU’s outdoor amphitheater located near the football stadium. The Old Main Music Festival is spearheaded by the MSU Student Association, the Campus Activities Board, and Music Makers.
Drill Field at the heart of the Mississippi State University campus, (662) 325-0787
Experience the various cultures represented in Starkville’s diverse community at the International Fiesta. Taste the food, see the display of international flags along Main Street, join the dancing, watch the Cricket game, and be a part of this world party hosted by the World Neighbors Association and sponsored by the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center.
Super Bulldog Weekend
Multiple locations on the Mississippi State University campus, (662) 325-3074
Share the Maroon and White excitement at spring homecoming with SEC baseball and softball games, the Maroon and White spring football game, a variety of events and gatherings held by departments, and a pig-cooking contest.
Art in the Garden
Local gardens as arranged by the Starkville Area Arts Council, (662) 324-3080. http://starkvillearts.org/events/art_garden.html
Visit beautiful gardens at area homes, observe artists at work, and enjoy performances by dancers and musical groups.
Starkville Community Market
Corner of South Jackson and Lampkin Streets, Starkville, http://starkvillecommunitymarket.com
Shop for fresh produce from local farmers and the works of artists and craftsmen while listening to live music or participating in special activities in downtown Starkville. The Market is open Saturdays from May through October, from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.
MSU Piano Showcase
Mississippi State University campus, (662) 325-2864
Famous performers and teachers present their works, lead master classes, and perform evening concerts.
Cotton District on University Drive, Starkville, (662) 325-3917
Take part in Mississippi State University’s fall pep rally and hear live music from national touring acts on two open-air stages, see Bully (the MSU mascot) and the MSU cheerleaders, and enjoy great food and shopping. Held on the Friday night before an MSU home football game, Bulldog Bash draws around 40,000 visitors.
Downtown Block Party
Downtown Starkville, (662) 323-3322
Come to a downtown “street fair” on Friday evening before the season’s first MSU football game to enjoy live music, displays of works by local artisans, booths serving street foods from Main Street restaurants, dancing and demonstations by multicultural student organizations, a fashion show featuring tailgating wear, and activities for kids that include inflatable jumpers, face painting, and more.
Mid-South Forestry Equipment Show
Starr Memorial Forest on MS Hwy 25 southeast of Starkville, (662) 325-2191, http://www.cfr.msstate.edu/msfes/index.asp
For nearly three decades this show has not only displayed the latest equipment but has also offered in-the-woods logging demonstrations on sites of different types within the 8,500-acre John W. Starr Memorial Forest. A must for those interested or involved in the forestry industry.
Downtown Starkville, (662) 323-3322
Celebrate autumn in Starkville with this family-oriented event featuring a pumpkin patch with locally grown pumpkins, a pumpkin painting contest, trick-or-treating for kids at downtown stores, and live music.
Oktoc Country Store
Oktoc Community Center on Oktoc Road 10 miles south of Mississippi State University campus, (662) 323-8175
Enjoy shopping for local arts and crafts from the Oktoc Community and sample the locally famous homemade Brunswick stew.
MSU Homecoming Parade
University Drive and downtown Starkville, (662) 323-3322
Homecoming floats are led by football players, coaches, cheerleaders, the famous Maroon Band, and Bully (the MSU mascot) as they parade through the Cotton District and downtown Starkville.
Citywide Tailgate Party and Competition
Throughout Starkville and on the MSU campus, (662) 323-3322
Scheduled on the Friday before a home football game of the Mississippi State University Bulldogs, the Tailgate Party includes a competition for the best homecoming decorations of storefronts and entrances to campus buildings. Entries are judged by a panel of local celebrities.
Sturgis South Motorcycle Rally
MS Hwy 12 West, Downtown Sturgis, Mississippi, (662) 465-7970; http://www.sturgismsrally.com/flash/index.php
Motorcycle enthusiasts from all across the United States flock to this weekend event packed with activities: a bike show and games, area rides and tours, and live music. Founded in 1997, the rally has now grown to include thousands of registered riders with 20-30,000 attendees.
Christmas Open House
Starkville retail areas, (662) 323-3322
Boutique retailers and merchants from across Starkville debut their special merchandise for the holiday season. Bring the kids to see Santa at Polka Tots in downtown Starkville.
Starkville Holiday Bazaar
Starkville Sportsplex on Lynn Lane, Starkville, (662) 323-3322
Holiday shopping is fun and easy at this Christmas fair featuring over 150 artisans displaying handmade goods.
Starkville Community Market and Tree Lighting
Downtown Starkville, corner of Jackson and Lampkin Streets, (662) 323-3322
Community Market vendors offer baked goods and craft products while art and food demonstrations are conducted for children on the first Saturday afternoon in December. The event culminates with lighting of the Starkville Community Christmas tree in late afternoon just before the Christmas parade.
Starkville Christmas Parade
Downtown Starkville, 662) 323-3322
Immediately after the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree (see above), a festive holiday parade winds through downtown Starkville, sponsored by the Greater Starkville Development Partnership. Floats and walking units created by community groups and organizations are judged in eight categories. To the delight of children, the last float brings Santa Claus.
Holiday Home Tour and Tea
Home locations announced annually, (662) 323-3322
After a reception and light refreshments, partipants drive to some of Starkville’s most beautiful homes where homeowners invite them in to view spectacular holiday decorations. Tickets and details are available from the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, which sponsors the event in cooperation with the Starkville Civic League.