By MATT CRANE
The efforts of individuals and businesses honoring Starkville’s 175th birthday will be recognized Wednesday with a Birthday Appreciation Celebration at the Starkville Public Library.
Beginning at 7 p.m., community members will gather to honor individuals who contributed to the summer and fall speaker series as well as Starkville King and Queen, John Robert Arnold and Ruby Nash Davis.
Committee member Paige Lawes said Arnold and Davis were honored as King and Queen based on their continued dedication to the Starkville community.
“We looked for people who have given to the community and who have deep roots in Starkville,” she said. “Both of them are intricately involved in Starkville.”
Committee member Carole McReynolds Davis said she and the committee wanted to ensure that Starkville, founded on May 11, 1873, received the proper recognition for its 175-year existence.
“Our overall goal was to not take one given day, but celebrate who we were for a whole year,” she said. “The Greater Starkville Development Partnership and interested community members got involved and we pulled it all together. They became the pieces of the puzzle we needed.”
The steering committee for the 175th birthday celebration includes: Lawes, Davis, Amanda Edwards, Michelle Jones, Gloria Bagwell Roland, Marianne Stafford, Maddie Abraham, Carolyn Reed, Emily Jones, Wilda Gandy, Jennifer Gregory, Ali Jones, Joan Wilson and Dero Ramsey.
Along with recognizing the efforts of community members, Lawes said the “Starkville: Then and Now” will be revealed at the celebration.
Calendar coordinator Amanda Edwards said the Mississippi State University Libraries provided significant contributions to the calendar that showcases a mix of Starkville’s old and new landscapes.
“We’ve got some really great pictures that are representative of the entire community,” she said. “I’ve tried to bring in modes, color photos as well as the older black and white ones.”
Edwards said the calendar encompasses the wide variety of people and activities Starkville has seen over the past 175 years.
“I’ve learned a lot and I’ve had a good committee to help me understand things that are important to people who have lived here a long time,” she said. “The calendar represents a unified community, and there’s a lot of cohesiveness between the old and the new here.”
Lawes said the calendars will be on sale for $10 and plans are set to place a time capsule on May, 11, 2013 in the Stark Room in the library.
“We’ll open the time capsule at the 200th anniversary,” she said. “We’re hoping to get newspaper, pictures, audio of the speakers and other things that people can look at to see what we did this past year.”
Davis said working on the birthday committee has been a pleasure and it excited about growing sense of community the celebrations have brought thus far.
“People are proud that we have connections here because we’re like family,” she said. “There really has been a renewed sense of that community spirit.”
The Starkville 175th Birthday Appreciation Celebration begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Starkville Public Library.
For more information, call 662-324-1507.