By STEVEN NALLEY
The Cotton District Arts Festival will bring Starkville’s best arts, music, food, and other attractions to University Boulevard Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The festival’s 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’s 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.
“Last year, we had four stages, but the festival’s gotten so big that the police and fire departments were getting nervous,” Crecink said. “So, we’ve moved one of our stages to Friday.”
That same stage, known as the Metrocast Stage, will host a variety of local talent on Saturday as well. In order, the Metrocast stage’s schedule includes the Children’s Art Awards, performances from Starkville High School’s “The Music Man,” the SHS Singers, the Armstrong Middle School Chorus and Ensemble, Starkville Academy’s “Alice in Wonderland,” 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’s Bureau Main Stage near St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, and the TVA Rock Stage near Col. Muldrow Avenue. All performances are one hour except for headliner Paul Thorn’s 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’l Bootleggers.
Also on the CVB main stage at 1:30 p.m., between The Pounders and Nash Street, are the Songwriter’s 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’s 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’s 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.