By STEVEN NALLEY
The Cotton District Arts Festival will bring Starkville‚Äôs best arts, music, food, and other attractions to University Boulevard Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The festival‚Äôs schedule has gotten so full that some of the music had to be moved to Friday night, Candy Crecink, executive secretary of the Starkville Area Arts Council, said. The result is the festival‚Äôs first ever Friday Night Bandstand, set for 7-10 p.m. on Page Avenue and sponsored by Bojangles. The featured performers, in order, are 4Valentine, the Jarheads and Shay Harris. All performances are one hour.
‚ÄúLast year, we had four stages, but the festival‚Äôs gotten so big that the police and fire departments were getting nervous,‚ÄĚ Crecink said. ‚ÄúSo, we‚Äôve moved one of our stages to Friday.‚ÄĚ
That same stage, known as the Metrocast Stage, will host a variety of local talent on Saturday as well. In order, the Metrocast stage‚Äôs schedule includes the Children‚Äôs Art Awards, performances from Starkville High School‚Äôs ‚ÄúThe Music Man,‚ÄĚ the SHS Singers, the Armstrong Middle School Chorus and Ensemble, Starkville Academy‚Äôs ‚ÄúAlice in Wonderland,‚ÄĚ Chase Sansing, the Hughes sisters, a poetry slam, and the POP Danz Team and Talent Showcase winners.
The festival will feature two other stages for musical talent: the Starkville Convention and Visitor‚Äôs Bureau Main Stage near St. Joseph‚Äôs Catholic Church, and the TVA Rock Stage near Col. Muldrow Avenue. All performances are one hour except for headliner Paul Thorn‚Äôs extended performance, with 15-30 minute breaks between performances.
In order, the CVB Main Stage will feature John Milstead, Kelley McRae, The Pounders, Nash Street, and Paul Thorn. The TVA Rock Stage will feature Paul Brady, Ming Donkey, the Big Joe Shelton Band, Deacon Jones and the Late Night, and Int‚Äôl Bootleggers.
Also on the CVB main stage at 1:30 p.m., between The Pounders and Nash Street, are the Songwriter‚Äôs Competition winners Jordyn Mallory (first place), Josh Watts (second place) and Ethan Sumrall (third place).
The festival will also feature a Pet Parade at 9 p.m. immediately trailed by an Easter Parade. It‚Äôs still not too late to register for the Pet Parade; registration costs $12 and begins at 8:30 p.m. Registration for the Easter Parade begins at the same time and costs nothing.
The Old Cotton 5K begins at 8 a.m., with registration at 7 a.m. costing $25 and pre-registration costing $20. Winners of the race will be awarded at 9:45 a.m. at the TVA Rock Stage.
Visitors who want to see the work of artists competing in the Juried Arts Competition and Student Art Competition can find it in MSU‚Äôs Visual Arts Center Gallery at 808 University Drive during the festival. The event is judged by guest juror Terry Cherry, two-time member of the Mississippi Watercolor Society.