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BY MATT CRANE
The Greater Starkville Development Partnership kicks off a year-long celebration today honoring 175th anniversary of Starkville‚Äôs founding.
The GSDP will hold a block party this afternoon from 4-6 p.m. on Lafayette St. filled with activities for all ages, including a special program commemorating the town‚Äôs birthday.
Paige Lawes, owner of Three Generations Tea Room, became chairman of the event‚Äôs committee in December and said residents can look forward to a good time at the event.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs just going to be so much fun,‚ÄĚ Lawes said.
Committee members include Lawes, Michelle Jones, Carole McReynolds Davis, Gloria Bagwell Rowland, Dero Ramsey, Joan Wilson, Ali Jones, Jennifer Gregory, Emily Jones and Amanda Edwards who is in charge of publicity.
Edwards has been honored to work on the committee and prepare the kick off celebration for Starkville.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve got a really great group,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúA lot of what we have planned will coincide with events throughout the year, and we‚Äôre hoping people will want to really get involved.‚ÄĚ
Edwards said the Veranda will feature a special bread pudding on their menu in honor of the celebration along with downtown stores displaying old black and white pictures from Starkville‚Äôs past.
Jennifer Gregory, Greater Starkville Development Partnership vice president of tourism, said she and the partnership are excited about hosting the event.
‚ÄúWe think this is really going to encourage people in Starkville to learn more about our history,‚ÄĚ Gregory said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a time for us to come together and celebrate where we‚Äôve come from.‚ÄĚ
Gregory said many activities will be offered for children including a photography set-up with props, an inflatable jumper, balloon animals and face painting. The Boardtown Boys will provide live music for the event as well as dancing from Decorda Owens.
Boy Scout Troop 14 and Cub Scout Pack 14 will present the colors during today‚Äôs scheduled program with troop leader Bubba Forrester leading the crowd in the pledge. Starkville High School student Lauren Hughes will sing patriotic hymns and a rendition of ‚ÄúHappy Birthday.‚ÄĚ
Mayor Parker Wiseman will read a proclamation during today‚Äôs program near the town clock. He said he is thrilled to take part in this milestone of the community.
‚ÄúThis event allows us to celebrate the accomplishment of our past and renew ourselves for the future,‚ÄĚ Wiseman said.
As the great-great-grandson of Starkville‚Äôs first mayor who founded this town in 1837, committee member Dero Ramsey has an especially close connection with today‚Äôs event.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs an important thing for us to see the times we‚Äôve been through,‚ÄĚ Ramsey said, ‚Äúand hopefully it‚Äôll help us see where we‚Äôre going.‚ÄĚ
Wiseman said meeting Dero and connecting to Starkville‚Äôs history was a very special experience.
Eight generations of committee member Carole McReynolds Davis‚Äô family has lived in Starkville. She said she looked at working on this event as a way to celebrate not only her heritage, but also Starkville‚Äôs history.
‚ÄúI just felt like I needed to repay my ancestors,‚ÄĚ Davis said.
Davis created a display for the celebration gathering photographs of some of the first families of Starkville.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs all just so wonderful,‚ÄĚ she said.
The event beginning at 4 p.m. today is free to the publicc.All of Starkville is encouraged to come out and celebrate.