By MATT CRANE
For 40 years, the annual Starkville Holiday Bazaar has provided local shopper with a unique array items perfect for the holiday season.
While open shopping, free of charge to the public, runs Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Starkville Sportsplex, shoppers interested in getting a first look at products may buy tickets for a preview party Tuesday from 7-9 p.m.
Greater Starkville Development Partnership Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Tourism Development Jennifer Gregory said advance tickets are $15 or $20 at the door.
“Advance tickets can only be purchased online at http://www.visit.starkville.org,” she said. “Last year we had nearly 4,000 shoppers and generated about $70,000 in sales.”
Gregory said the event features 94 juried vendors from across the Southeast offering both wholesale and handcrafted items.
“We want to be able to support our local artisans and jurying the entries makes that possible,” she said. “We have several new vendors this year and we feel like we have a really great mix of products.”
Gregory said the jurying process helps to promote and protect new artisans selling their handcrafted products, but many familiar faces will return.
“By trying to limit the number of wholesalers and really focusing on our handcrafted artisans, it really provides them a unique opportunity to showcase their products and have a greater opportunity to sell,” she said. “Shoppers will be able to see some faces from years past while getting to know our new economies, building sustainable communities and strengthening neighborhoods and families.
Each of the strategies will be explored through peer networking sessions, leadership seminars and workshops. One of the four keynote speakers featured at the event will be TIME Magazine Editor-At-Large and Senior Political analyst Mark Halperin.
At the board’s Nov. 6 meeting, Corey said he thinks the conference brings many opportunities to learn practices in use in thriving communities and bring those ideas back to Starkville.
“What I’d like to do is … use the opportunity to network and advertise what the city offers and take that knowledge back with me and share it with everybody.”
After the meeting Mayor Parker Wiseman said having city leadership attend the conference each year benefits Starkville in two major ways.
“First, it’s important at the annual national conference for cities that the city of Starkville be represented,” Wiseman said. “It’s also the premier conference for educational opportunities in the world of municipal government. It offers a wide array of exposure to best practices and cutting edge practices in municipal government. It’s certainly an opportunity to meet other local government officials and professionals from around the country and hopefully call on those contacts in the future should the need arise. I hope (Corey and Dumas) carry the banner of Starkville proudly and well, and I hope they bring back ideas to advance the city in the future.”
The board voted 6-1 to approve travel expenses for them to attend. Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver was the only vote in dissent. The trip costs $2,000 per attendee.
More information on the conference can be found at http://www.nlc.org/build-skills-and-networks/education-and-training/even... .