Pumpkinpalooza transforms Main Street

MSU Homecoming Queen Victoria Vivians speaks at the pep rally that kicked off Pumpkinpalooza. (Photo by Sarah Raines, SDN)
Staff Writer

Main Street was bustling Friday night with hundreds of people in colorful costumes ready to trick or treat during Starkville's city-wide fall festival, Pumpkinpalooza.

The Greater Starkville Development Partnership's eighth annual event brought one of the largest crowds yet to Main Street. Community Market vendors were set up for the last time until next summer and stores stayed open late for the event, handing out candy and allowing people to browse their shops.

A pumpkin patch, a haunted trolly and bounce houses were set up in the middle of Main Street for attendees.

The festival kicked off with a pep rally led by Mississippi State University head men's basketball coach Ben Howland, MSU head women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer, and homecoming queen Victoria Vivians. The MSU women's basketball team signed autographs and talked to participants. The MSU Spirit Squad danced to Halloween favorites like Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and Bobby Pickett's "Monster Mash."

The Book Mart & Cafe owner Carolyn Abadie has been to each Pumpkinpalooza event. Like most shops along Main Street, the Book Mart handed out candy to trick or treaters who lined the sidewalk.

"We love seeing downtown come alive like this," Abadie said. "We bought probably 15 large bags of candy. The kids come in and they're just having fun."

Attendee Bethany Davis attended Pumpkinpalooza for the first time with her family. They drove from La Grange, Georgia. Davis's 3-year-old son, Reed Davis, was dressed as a police officer.

"My family lives in Bruce, Mississippi, so we came to visit and decided to do this, too," Davis said.

Children's Librarian at the Starkville Public Library Christina Jurusik brought her dog Diesel. Jurusik was dressed like Hermione Granger from "Harry Potter," and Diesel was dressed as a jack-o'-lantern.

"I love coming out and seeing all the cool costumes," Jurusik said. "These kids have some amazing costumes on tonight. There's one little girl running around as a cappuccino from Starbucks. They're so imaginative and fun."

Jurusik has been to three Pumpkinpalooza events and said the crowd has grown each year.

GSDP Special Events Coordinator Paige Watson was happy to see a large crowd at the event.

"I think the best part is just the attraction to downtown, everyone's interaction with the retailers and all the retailers downtown," Watson said.

Watson said the GSDP appreciated downtown retailers who stayed open to participate in the event, but also to the MSU athletes, coaches, and Spirit Squad who attended.

"We're thankful they came out because our tourists and visitors for the event really enjoyed their participation," Watson said.