Thousands come home for Cotton District Arts Festival

Thousands of people attended the 2018 Cotton District Arts Festival (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

Since its inception in 1996, the Cotton District Arts Festival has grown exponentially, drawing locals, alumni and students to the District for food, drink and fun in the spring.

The 2018 festival was held on Saturday and brought thousands of and attendees out to enjoy the festival and the mild weather. Several in attendance each year have ties to Starkville or Mississippi State University, and return for the festival and other events sharing the weekend, including the Super Bulldog Weekend Maroon and White football game, two Bulldog baseball games against the Arkansas Razorbacks and other festivities.

“I used to live here, and then I left to go to the Navy, and this is my first time being back in like three years,” said Kyler Rendon, who grew up in Starkville, but currently resides in Albany, New York. “So far I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Rendon said he had enjoyed sampling the food, including ribs and fried catfish from The Veranda’s booth.

He also commented on the weather conditions for the festival.

“I just came from upstate New York, and probably haven’t seen sun in a month and a half,” Rendon said.

Also returning to Starkville was Canton-based metal sculptor and MSU alumnus Harry Day. Day said he had been selling his welded steel sculptures at the festival since 2004, and always enjoyed being a part of the festival.

He also had copies of his novels available.

“I have a lot of friends that still live here, so it was just a no-brainer for me to come do this show once I started doing the work that I do, my metal sculptures.,” Day said.

Day said he had been steadily selling pieces at his booth this year.

“It’s been a really good show to me, so I’ll always come back,” Day said. “It’s been good. It’s been a good year, a lot of interest in the work. I’m selling some books. I’m also selling some metal sculptures.”

Day said he works with metal mainly because of its availability.

“There’s so much of it in this state,” Day said. “It’s a farming state, and there’s metal everywhere. It’s so easy to get and find. I’ve never bought any metal."

In another booth, husband and wife MSU alums Josh and Landen Winborne were selling their handmade furniture, some of which was built with wood from their property in Brookhaven.

Josh Winborne, who graduated in 2013, said it was their first time at the festival as vendors.

“It feels good (to be back),” Josh Winborne said. “I like to see some of the changes and the growth, some of the apartments and stuff that have popped up in the town but also I miss the Starkville I knew as a student.”

While a student at MSU, Matthew Kavanaugh, who graduated last year and currently lives in Tupelo never made it to the festival, and was attending for the first time.

“I was always working or something like that,” Kavanaugh said.

Kavanaugh said he tried to regularly make it to Starkville events, and was enjoying his time at the festival.

“Like I said, it’s great to see all the local artisans,” Kavanaugh said.