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By MATT CRANE
Thousands of residents and visitors will head to the Cotton District Friday as the Mississippi State University Student Association prepares for the 2012 Bulldog Bash for the Texas A&M game weekend.
SA President Shelby Balius said activities for Bulldog Bash will begin 3 p.m. Friday with the annual FanFare followed by the Dawg Rally at 5:15 p.m.
‚ÄúThe FanFare is an opportunity for Starkville businesses and sponsors to set up marketing booths on University Drive as well as providing activities for the children,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThe Dawg Rally will happen right in front of the stage on University Drive with Wayne Madkin, the quarterback for the Snow Bowl, as our emcee.‚ÄĚ
Balius said the musical portion of Bulldog Bash begins at 6 p.m. with Corinth-based band, Surviving Allison.
‚ÄúThe winner of our Battle of the Bands competition, Surviving Allison, will begin at 6 p.m. followed by DJ Archnemesis who will be playing in between sets,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúAndy Grammar will begin at 7 p.m. followed by Gloriana at 8:15 p.m. and then we‚Äôll have our headliners, The Eli Young Band, start at 9:30 p.m.‚ÄĚ
With music group Neon Trees backing out of their headlining duties only two weeks before Bulldog Bash, Balius said the SA, along with their booking agent, worked diligently to find a replacement.
‚ÄúWhen we found out the Eli Young Band was available, we jumped on the opportunity and thankfully it all worked out,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúI think it‚Äôs really great to see the increase of the caliber of artists we bring every year, and this is another one in that trend.‚ÄĚ
Balius said the SA anticipates a crowd of 30,000-35,000 for Friday‚Äôs event. She and her team, Balius said, have enjoyed putting Bulldog Bash together.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs definitely been a challenge, but it‚Äôs a fun experience,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúWorking as a team, we made sure each member was pulling his or her own weight while being encouraged and supported. It‚Äôs a great example of how a business or organization should be run and led.‚ÄĚ
Starkville Police Chief David Lindley said his department has been involved with monitoring Bulldog Bash for over 10 years and have had success in running a smooth operation.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôll follow the same pattern we have in previous years as far as locations, times and number of people working the event,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôll be a lot of people in small space, so we encourage people to realize that and do things to ensure their own safety. Some people will be consuming alcohol and might be disruptive, but that‚Äôs why we‚Äôre there.‚ÄĚ
Lindley said road closures for Bulldog Bash will begin 2 a.m. Friday between Page and Col. Muldrow avenues followed by barricade setups at noon for Maxwell Street at Lummus and Hogan streets as well as University Drive at Nash Street.
‚ÄúThe early Friday morning closures will help us begin setup for the main stage,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThe noon closures will help us to begin setup for the vendors, FanFare and installation of lights and sound for the concerts.‚ÄĚ
Lindley said he was thankful for the university‚Äôs help by providing logistical support for the event, and added that along with his department, emergency medical services and the Starkville Fire Department will be on the scene as well.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôll have around 20 officers working the event, patrolling in teams of two, monitoring the crowd and making sure people are safe,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThe fact that we will have a presence is something that in and of itself will be help to dismiss inappropriate behavior.‚ÄĚ
Lindley said Bulldog Bash is one of the department‚Äôs largest man-power deployments of the year and said the SA is consistent in its help and cooperation.
‚ÄúThe SA does a good job of planning and helping to clean up the streets to get things looking normal for the next day‚Äôs football game,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúWe go to great lengths to plan this event out and make sure the night runs smoothly.‚ÄĚ
For more information on Bulldog Bash, visit http://www.msubulldogbash.org.