Organizers for the 2010 Citywide Tailgate Party and Competition are out to prove that “the ring’s the thing” when the event celebrates the Mississippi State cowbell tradition in a few weeks.
Set 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 1 — the day before the Mississippi State Bulldogs takes on Alcorn State — the seventh annual event is sponsored by the Starkville Daily News with assistance from the Greater Starkville Development Partnership.
This year’s Citywide Tailgate theme is “The Ring’s the Thing: Respect the Bell.”
“With the cowbell being a traditional spirit symbol for MSU and the fact that they are being rung legally at Davis Wade Stadium this year, we wanted a Tailgate theme that reflects the excitement over cowbell use and encourages people to follow the rules for ringing them,” said SDN Editor Brian Hawkins, who coordinates the event.
As in years past, various awards will be given to winners in the Tailgate Party competition, which will be judged by local celebrity panels to be announced the week of the event. To avoid problems encountered in previous years with judges being able to reach all Tailgate sites in a timely manner, two judging panels will be scoring this year’s event.
Participating businesses and organizations will be judged in the competition according to the following criteria:
• Appearance and street appeal of their tailgate site.
• Creativity in reflecting the theme.
• Food presentation.
Awards will be given to the first, second and third place overall winners, as well as overall awards for best use of theme, best tailgate food and overall spirit.
The first, second and third place winners will each receive vacation packages for two people. The packages are for three-day, two-night trips to one of more than 500 locations throughout the United States, and each includes a $100 Visa card for the winners’ use.
All other winners will receive special recognition in the Oct. 2 edition of the Daily News.
Numerous photographs will be taken during the event, many of which will be selected for publication the Daily News and possible use in future GSDP publications.
All participating businesses and organizations will be listed in the Daily News as they elect to participate.
“How participating groups set up their tailgate sites is up to them. This event is about having a good time, showing support for our Bulldogs and offering an old-fashioned helping of Southern hospitality,” Hawkins said.
Judging for the Tailgate Party competition will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 1 and continue until all participants have been visited by the judging panel. Judging will be conducted along specified routes that will be published in the Daily News that day, Hawkins said.
Because of high public interest in the Citywide Tailgate, participating teams are being asked ahead of time to set aside food for the judging teams to sample to ensure all teams get an equal opportunity for judging.
To enter the Tailgate Party, simply contact Hawkins by telephone at 323-1642 or by e-mail at email@example.com .
“All anyone has to do to enter the event is let us know they plan to participate and whether they want to be judged,” Hawkins said. “In doing so, we can promote those organizations and businesses in the newspaper leading up to and the day of the Tailgate Party.”
In years past, many of the Tailgate Party participants have been concentrated in the downtown Starkville area. The newspaper is again offering use of its west parking lot to any businesses, civic groups, churches or campus organizations who want to participate in the Tailgate Party and be a part of the downtown atmosphere.
Non-downtown groups who want to set up in the SDN parking lot can do so by letting Hawkins know when they sign up to participate. The deadline to register is 5 p.m. Sept. 30.