By STEVEN NALLEY
This year, Mississippi State University is celebrating its birthday with a cowbell too heavy and delicious to ring.
Allison Noble, MSU Dining Services catering director, said her staff have created a giant cowbell-shaped cake for the celebration. At 4 feet in height, the cake contains 200 pounds of batter, she said.
âOur idea this year was to incorporate the theme, âThis Is Our State,ââ Noble said. âWe decided to use a large cowbell and write âThis Is Our Stateâ on the cowbell.â
The MSU Alumni Association will sponsor a celebration of MSUâs 134th anniversary 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday in the Junction.
The celebration is free and open to the public. In addition to the cake, hamburgers, chips, cookies, soft drinks and MSU ice cream will be served while supplies last.
Jimmy Abraham, MSU Alumni Association executive director, said the event celebrates the Mississippi legislatureâs creation of the university on Feb. 28, 1878, as opposed to the date students first began attending or the passage of the Morrill Act of 1862 which empowered Mississippi and other states to create land-grant institutions.
âThe birthday party is such a fun celebration for our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends each year,â Abraham said. âIt is a great time for campus and the Starkville community to come together and celebrate the founding of our beloved university.â
Abraham said he came on board at the MSU Alumni Association seven years ago, and for the past six of those years, MSU has held anniversary parties. He said other MSU chapters elsewhere may have anniversary parties as well, but this is the only party he is aware of on campus.
âWe had a great turnout at our party last year,â Abraham said. âWe had over 2,500 students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. We hope our 134th birthday party is even bigger.â
Abraham said crowds can also catch free anniversary T-shirts tossed from the Junctionâs stage, where the band Big Poppa Strang will perform throughout the event. The band appears courtesy of Music Maker Productions and the Campus Activities Board, and its lead guitarist, Dale Robertson, also works with event services at MSU.
Robertson said his band specializes in classic rock covers from the â70s, â80s and â90s, with some original music. He said the band first performed at the MSU anniversary celebration last year.
âThat was the first year we did the birthday bash,â Robertson said. âWe have done a number of events here on campus, but that was the first birthday bash weâve done. Iâm the only one in the band thatâs a staff member... (but) we all love MSU. Itâs fun to play outdoor events like (the anniversary celebration,) especially on a campus like MSU.â
Abraham said there are no firm rain plans for the celebration currently.
âWeâre going to plan to go ahead with it outside,â Abraham said. âIf it rains hard, weâll find another location to serve the cake.â