By CARL SMITH
Members of the Mississippi Main Street Association Board of Directors will hold a meeting in Starkville today and tomorrow while visiting the town, viewing its downtown area and discussing tourism with Starkville’s Main Street Association.
Today’s board meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership. The MMSA board will hear a presentation from Jennifer Gregory, GSDP vice president for tourism and chief operating officer, on the SMSA and its implementation of ideas from the charrette.
The MMSA board will also take part in a walking tour of Downtown Starkville. Once the tour is finished, the GSDP will host a public reception for the MMSA board at 5:30 p.m. at the partnership’s headquarters on Main Street. The MMSA board will convene again 9 a.m. Friday and hold a second meeting until noon.
Starkville joined the MMSA in 2010, and the group conducted the charrette for the city the following year.
Gregory said ideas from the charrette have been used to market and sell Starkville’s tourism potential.
“We had a really good idea (for how to market Starkville), but the charrette really helped us develop a strong plan to market, sell and brand Starkville,” Gregory said. “We’re very excited to have the MMSA board here in town to show them what we’ve done and to also pick their brains.”
In other SMSA business, Gregory said a steering committee was formed to guide and plan the year-long celebration for Starkville’s 175th birthday beginning May 11.
The GSDP will host a party 4 p.m. that day and announce further events scheduled throughout the year. Gregory said a city parade, rotating exhibits and a speaker series are all currently in the planning stages.
“We want to have great events to share this milestone,” Gregory said. “We’re also working with the city on a mayor’s proclamation for the entire year.”
Starkville’s 175th birthday celebration will be featured as a part of the Dawg Days of Summer event series. The series’ complete lineup has not been announced yet, but Gregory said it will include the Running of the Bulldogs, unWine Downtown, a steak-cooking competition, cooking classes and events at the Starkville Community Market and Miss. Horse Park.
A full lineup is expected to be announced following the Cotton District Arts Festival.