By MATT CRANE
With the spring season right around the corner, women of Starkville are ready to raise a glass and make a toast to warmer weather as the Greater Starkville Development Partnership sponsors its latest unWINE Downtown event.
From 5:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday, participants will pair wine tastings with after-hours shopping at some of Starkville’s finest retailers with discounts geared toward unWINE ticket holders.
GSDP Special Events and Projects Coordinator Jennifer Prather said this was her first unWINE event to lead and she was excited about its return for the spring season.
“I have been to unWINE as a patron, so now it is totally different to see the other end of it,” she said. “It is just a fun event and I am so excited.”
While the format of unWINE remains virtually the same, one big change comes from the decision to host check-in at The Lofts at Central Station, a decision Prather said was made to include all members of the Main Street Association.
“We felt like when check-in was on Main Street, people were only going to those stores and now, we not only get to feature a non-retail member, but we get to put check-in closer to those businesses off Main Street,” she said. “We are trying to help our retailers and who are off Main Street that are a part of MSA.”
GSDP Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Gregory said she and the partnership had been impressed with Prather’s job since joining their team.
“Jennifer Prather has been with us for over a month and has done an incredible job transitioning into the new position, learning how we operate at the GSDP and really getting immersed into our events and our program of work,” she said. “She has a very clear understanding of how to communicate with our boards as well as the community.”
With unWINE tickets sales ahead of schedule for Thursday’s event, Gregory said organizers looked forward to big crowds visiting local retailers during these traditionally slower sales months.
“We are encouraging participants to visit retailers they have not made it to in the past and it is the perfect opportunity to shop for some spring clothes, Easter outfits and much more,” she said. “We are looking forward to our new check-in location and showcasing our MSA members.”
Prather said the GSDP had partnered with Scotty’s Wine and Spirits once again to offer participants an exciting array seasonal wines.
“We are doing really fun, light summer wines — items you might look into if you were going to be hosting a party in the next few months,” she said. “We have a really good mix of wines and we are also showcasing a champagne that we are excited about.”
As with previous events, Prather said unWINE was about not only supporting the local economy, but offering women a fun, safe event.
“It is always great when women can get out and have a girls night out, especially to shop,” she said. “Women get excited about an event that is catered around them and what they like to do.”
The spring unWINE Downtown event begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday with check-in at The Lofts at Central Station. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Participants will receive a wine glass and at least 20 percent discounts at any of the 18 participating retailers.
For more information, call 662-323-3322 or visit http://www.starkville.org .