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For the Daily News
Sponsored by the newly formed Starkville Main Street Association, Dudy Gras 5.5 will include several new events for what organizers hope will be a week-long celebration of Mississippi State baseball and Mardi Gras all-in-one.
Dudy Gras, originally formed and operated by Starkville residents Chip Carley, Hobie Hobart, and Michael Wardlaw, was created as a celebration of the opening of MSU baseball season and the eight trips the ballclub has made to Omaha, Neb. for the College World Series. Coinciding with the season of Mardi Gras, Dudy Gras was born.
â€śWe at the Starkville Main Street Association are thrilled about the opportunity to grow Dudy Gras from a wonderful local event, to a week-long festival that will allow local residents and visitors to experience the authenticity and variety of some of Starkvilleâ€™s greatest restaurants, while celebrating one of Starkvilleâ€™s favorite past times, MSU baseball,â€ť said Robyn Cain, Starkville Main Street Association program coordinator.
This yearâ€™s activities will include familiar favorites like the Dudy Gras Parade, with a route beginning on Main Street, continuing to University Drive, and ending at Left Field Lounge at Dudy Noble Field on Feb. 4, but will feature several new events this year including a Red Beans and Rice Cook-off on Main Street prior to the parade, Eight Days of Dudy Gras Culinary Tour, set to take place from Feb. 5 to 12, and the Dudy Gras Masquerade at the Veranda Restaurant on Feb. 12.
The Red Beans and Rice Cook-off will begin the Dudy Gras festivities on Feb. 4 on Main Street and will allow amateur teams the opportunity to compete with their best red beans and rice recipes for awards such as â€śBest Beans,â€ť determined by a set of culinary professionals, â€śPeopleâ€™s Choice,â€ť determined by the public vote, and â€śBest Decorated Booth,â€ť determined by Starkville Main Street staff.
The public is encouraged to cheer on the teams during the afternoon of Feb. 4 and will be allowed to sample all of the teamsâ€™ final concoctions for free, just prior to the parade.
Dudy Gras Parade will begin on Main Street at 4:30 p.m. and will include Left Field Lounge trailers and several other floats, and will continue with the Eight Days of Dudy Gras Culinary Tour, to represent the eight trips the MSU baseball team has made to Omaha, Neb., which will spotlight a different local restaurant each day, featuring Mardi Gras and Cajun themed food items, special menus, and drink specials.
The eighth stop on the culinary tour will be the Dudy Gras Masquerade at the Veranda Restaurant.
Restaurants included in the eight-day culinary tour include: Ptolemyâ€™s Taproom, City Bagel CafĂ©, The Little Dooey, Restaurant Tyler, Old Venice Pizza Company, Mugshots, Central Station Grill and The Veranda. Some of the specials will include a Cajun brunch, creative drink specials, and unique menu items specifically created for the tour.
The Dudy Gras Masquerade at the Veranda Restaurant will conclude the culinary tour and will include appetizers, music, and a festive Mardi Gras environment. Tickets for the Masquerade are $15 per person and attendees are encouraged to wear masks and festive Mardi Gras attire.
Patrons may pick-up punch cards at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership office or any of the participating restaurants prior to and during the tour, and those who partake in the specials of five of the eight restaurants on the tour will receive free admission to the Masquerade. Specific specials and menu items will be listed as the event approaches.
For more information, contact Cain at 323-3322 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.