History buffs, art lovers, thrill seekers and nearly everyone in between will find something to pique their interests in Starkville. Known for Mississippi State University, this college town packs a lot of fun into the area.
Get a grip
The 18-hole Mississippi State University Golf Course is ranked among the top 30 university-owned courses in the country by Golfweek Magazine. The Brian Ault design championship course hosts the MSU Men’s and Women’s golf teams and the university golf and sports turf management program. Sunday afternoons feature Family Golf Days – choose nine or 18 holes. Private lessons, golf clinics and club fittings are available to boost anyone’s game.
Howling good times
The fabled Junction is the epicenter of school spirit, drawing enthusiastic fans to cheer on the Mississippi State Bulldogs and catch the annual pre-game Dawg Walk. Led by the university’s football team and the Famous Maroon Band, the walk is a time-honored tradition paying homage to Bully, the university’s English bulldog mascot.
Best of show
Celebrating canine companions, the Golden Triangle Kennel Club of Mississippi hosts a dog parade, conformation shows and obedience/rally trials.
A showcase of fabulous food, music and art, the annual Cotton District Arts Festival takes place every April. Presented by the Starkville Area Arts Council, the gathering features more than 125 artisans, a juried art show and competition, as well as the Taste of Starkville restaurant competition. Mississippi Magazine dubs the festival one of the top 100 events in the state, and the American Bus Association names it among the top 100 events in North America.
Heart and bowl
Chase the winter chill with a bowl of hot soup at the annual SOUPer BOWL where local restaurants and chefs serve innovative soups that soothe heart and soul. Ladle up some goodness and help the judges choose the winner of the annual Best Soup award. The event is hosted by the Starkville Main Street Association.
Bring the hot dogs and brats, fire up the grill and enjoy the best of college sports when the Bulldogs baseball team saunter onto their home turf at Mississippi State’s Dudy Noble Field. More than 15,000 tailgaters turn out every year at the renowned Left Field Lounge and cheer the team to victory!
Starkville brims with family focused events throughout the year, from the Charles Templeton Ragtime Music Festival to the annual Christmas parade and International Fiesta celebrating the city’s diverse food and culture. Clear the calendar and save the dates.
There’s music for all at the lively Starkville-Mississippi State University Symphony concert season. Featuring jazz, Christmas extravaganzas and choral presentations of Mississippi State’s Symphony Chorus, as well as music of great composers from Mendelssohn to Stravinsky.
Pages of history
In the Mississippi State University Mitchell Memorial Library, history springs to life through exhibits at the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library. Grant’s papers document key periods in 19th century America from the Mexican War to Reconstruction and the Gilded Age. Multiple collections include letters and even political cartoons, portraying a bird’s eye view of the illustrious life of the 18th president of the United States of America.
Jump-start to art
Create a masterpiece at Jilly Bean’s Pail of Paint. Classes and events encourage adults and children of all abilities to get creative – whether with canvas, clay or a host of other crafty materials. View the website for a complete list of events and classes.
The plot thickens
His tales deliver thrills and goosebumps. Learn more about famed author and Mississippi State alum John Grisham in the Mitchell Memorial Library, John Grisham Room. Original manuscripts are on display along with artifacts of Grisham’s life and days at the university.
Sip, nip and shop
Enjoy delicious wines and a sample of artfully paired food at the unWINE Downtown event, offered three times a year. Merchants open their shops and stores after hours, offerings sips and nips and discounts of up to 20 percent for all unWine ticketholders. These festive nights are perfect for early holiday shopping.
The time is now at the Cullis & Gladys Wade Clock Museum in the Mississippi State University Welcome Center. Clocks and timepieces from all around the world adorn walls, floors and showcases with more than 400 on display. Most are original productions. The collection features a number of French, English and German pieces.
Solace of sanctuary
Finished in 1966 and in the midst of the campus, the Mississippi State Chapel of Memories is a beautiful combination of Gothic design with a modern twist. Small colored glass windows provide colorfully diffused light, inviting relaxation, reflection and recollection. All are invited to enter and enjoy the perfection of this simple, quiet space.
Mount up and discover the beauty of the 100-acre Mississippi Horse Park just south of the Mississippi State main campus. More than 40,000 people visit the park each year, reining in fun at 40 annual events. The park is a division of the university’s extension service, providing entertainment for visitors and serving as a classroom and learning center.
Step into the museum’s home in the renovated 1874 Mobile & Ohio railroad depot, and take a trip through time. Connecting history and culture to contemporary life, the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum features military antiques and memorabilia, as well as a permanent collection of artifacts from history of local aviation to vintage clothing, a retro doctor’s office and more.
Ripe for picking
Oriental persimmons, muscadines and scuppernongs are some of the fruits that can be found at Reese Orchard. Pick a pail of blueberries or choose assorted gift boxes to send to friends and family. Shop online and check the web to see which fruits are at peak season.
Nothing beats a hot steaming bowl of fresh potatoes, corn and crawfish seasoned with punchy Cajun spices. Experience this regional culinary delight at the King Cotton Crawfish Boil in the heart of the Cotton District. Serving the freshest crawfish in town, the Best Boil competition is a toothsome affair, and local celebrity judges choose the best boil.
Around the globe
Experience the world at the day-long International Fiesta held at the Mississippi State University Holmes Cultural Diversity Center. Enjoy dance and live music, as well as plenty of engaging activities for the kiddos.
Don’t miss the Mississippi State Garden Club’s annual fundraiser to find the best goodies around. The Oktoc General Store is an annual fundraiser for Oktoc Community Center, featuring home-baked goods, jams and jellies, fabulous Brunswick stew and an assortment of treasures.
Recordings, musical instruments and sheet music collected during the course of four decades fill the Charles H. Templeton Sr. Music Museum. The museum tells the business side of music and the influence of music in contemporary life. Enjoy a slice of Americana with toe-tapping good times at the annual Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival.
Ready, set, action
Professional and amateur filmmakers from around the world screen a showcase of original works at the annual Magnolia Independent Film Festival. Patrons can see one or more films with individual tickets or purchase passes good for all showings at this three-day festival.
On Tuesdays and Saturdays in May through August, the Starkville Community Market is the place to find wholesome, local produce and goodies galore. Bins brim with colorful fruits and veggies, and artisans sell baked goods and crafty items. The market takes place at the Fire Station Park on Russell Street.
With four productions each season, the Starkville Community Theatre on Main Street sells out practically every show in its 89-seat playhouse. With nine performances of each production, audiences delight in enchanting musicals, comedy and more.
Tantalizing and fragrant, Aspen Bay Candles offers an array of candles, diffusers and fragrances. Hand-crafted in Starkville and sold in retail stores around the world.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS on GAME DAY in Starkville
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. Held in the Cotton District on University Drive, Starkville, (662) 325-3917.
Citywide Tailgate Party and Competition
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. Located throughout Starkville and on the MSU campus, (662) 323-3322.
MSU Homecoming Parade
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. Held on University Drive and downtown Starkville, (662) 323-3322.
Super Bulldog Weekend
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. Held over multiple locations on the Mississippi State University campus, (662) 325-3074.