Businesses see boost during Pride Parade

Onlookers watch the Pride Parade on March 24 from the balcony of Restaurant Tyler. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

Businesses in Starkville saw a boost during the weekend of the Starkville Pride parade on March 24.

Greater Starkville Development Partnership Director of Tourism Jennifer Prather said the Starkville Police Department estimated between 2,500 and 3,000 people were in town for the parade over the weekend.

"Many people were from out of town and occupied hotels here," Partnership CEO and President Scott Maynard said. "There was a large event at The Mill Friday night and a large crowd at the Saturday event. There were multiple events in town that weekend. It is good to have enough hotel space to host multiple groups in town at the same time."

Maynard said the Pride events, Everything Garden Expo at the Mississippi Horse Park and Charles H. Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival and Gatsby Gala at Mississippi State University all on the same day created a busy weekend in Starkville.

Owner of the Pop Porium Rosa Dalomba set up a booth at the Queer Art Market, as well as sold popcorn in her store on Main Street.

“It went good,” Dalomba said. “We ended up selling out of kernels to make popcorn, so that’s always a good weekend.”

Dalomba created rainbow popcorn for the event, which sold out along with many other flavors of popcorn.

Throughout the day, Dalomba said she saw a mix of locals as well as many people she has never met before from out of town.

Brian Kelley, owner of Eat Local Starkville, a restaurant group consisting of Bin 612, Restaurant Tyler, City Bagel Cafe and the Guest Room, saw varying crowds during the weekend.

Kelley said there was not any noticeable impact in sales at Restaurant Tyler, which is only open for dinner on Saturdays, or City Bagel Cafe, but there was an increase in typical sales at Bin 612.

Kelley said Cathead Vodka out of Jackson sponsored some drink specials for the event, including a Cathead Honeyberry Blitz.

Scott Thomas, owner of Scooter’s Record Store on University Drive, said the parade left him hopeful for more similar events in the future.

“I truly hope this becomes an annual event,” Thomas said. “Although I’ve only been open a few months that was my best weekend so far for new customers and sales. The walk in traffic was amazing.”