By STEVEN NALLEY
Several organizations will celebrate Independence Day in Oktibbeha County this weekend with food, fireworks and flags.
Coldwell Banker S.R.E. realtors will place 5,000 American flags across the city starting at sunset Sunday. Jean Amos Faver, broker and owner of Starkville’s Coldwell Banker, said the realtors’ goal is for citizens to wake up to a city blanketed in America’s colors.
“It takes our entire team, along with families and friends, to turn Starkville red, white and blue overnight,” Faver said. “It’s an honor to be able to recognize our servicemen and women in this manner, as well as commemorating our freedom. It’s especially meaningful this year with a local battalion deployed.”
This is the 14th year Coldwell Banker has distributed flags to the city. Faver said more than 5,000 flags will go to homes in subdivisions across Starkville, and residents can keep those flags.
“The flags are our gift to the community,” Faver said. “However, we will pick up any flags that are left out starting July 6. We don’t want to desecrate the flags, and we also want to do our part in keeping Starkville beautiful. Anyone wanting to keep their flag will need to pick it up prior to the sixth.”
Outside of Starkville, Sturgis will hold its own Independence Day celebration July 4 at Diane Jackson Memorial Park. The celebration will begin with a 5K run starting in the park at 8 a.m. Registration costs $20 and starts at 7 a.m. Then at 5 p.m., the park will host children’s games, local food, with fireworks at 9 p.m.
Sheila Jameson, a member of the city’s Fourth of July committee, said while the event is free and open to the public, proceeds from the 5K run and food would go to Sturgis’ police department and volunteer fire department. The volunteers are the only fire department Sturgis has, she said, and while taxes pay for equipment, donations pay the volunteers’ paychecks. Both departments also use the money for a disaster relief fund.
“Say your house caught on fire, you lost everything and you had no insurance,” Jameson said. “They give the money to where it’s needed. This way, by what little we give in donations, it helps them help us.”
Jameson said the event will also host an auction of items donated by the community and live music from Full Circle, a local band with members from Sturgis and Ackerman.
“They play ’50s, ’60s, ’70s — just about anything you want to hear,” Jameson said. “They’re donating their time.”
Finally, Starkville Parks and Recreation will hold a free Fourth of July Celebration at the Starkville Sportsplex at 4 p.m., with fireworks starting at 9 p.m.
Candidates for state and local office are scheduled to appear, but the schedule has changed since its appearance both in an advertisement and the Scene section of Thursday’s edition of Starkville Daily News. Parks and Recreation director Matthew Rye said local candidates’ response has been overwhelming, resulting in a series of last-minute changes. He also said candidates while candidates will each be given up to five minutes to speak, they are encouraged to speak for three minutes.
Rye said the schedule is still subject to change. For further updates, contact Rye at email@example.com  or 323-2294.
u 5:55 p.m.: Welcome by Mayor Parker Wiseman;
u 5:57 p.m.: Welcome by Park Commission Chairman Dan Moreland;
u 5:59 p.m.: Emcee Scott Maynard;
u 6 p.m.: Constable District 1 candidates Joe Morse, Shank Phelps, Curtis White and Tom Robertson;
u 6:15 p.m.: Circuit Clerk candidates Glenn Hamilton, Dave Holley, Dorothy Isaac, Teresa Robinson and Debra Wood;
u 6:30 p.m.: Oktibbeha County Coroner candidate Billy Miller;
u 6:35 p.m.: Tax Assessor candidates Debbie Carriathers, Allen Morgan, Jo Helen Walker and Lisa Wynn;
u 6:45 p.m.: District 1 Supervisor candidates John Montgomery, Antonio Suddeth, Ed Whitehurst and Jim Scrivener;
u 7 p.m.: District 2 Supervisor candidates Alfreda Outlaw and Orlando Trainer;
u 7:10 p.m.: District 3 Supervisor candidates Benny Perkins, Dennis Daniels and Marvell Howard;
u 7:20 p.m.: District 4 Supervisor candidate Bricklee Miller;
u 7:25 p.m.: District 5 Supervisor candidates Keith Thompson, Sammie Beckum and Joe Williams;
u 7:35 p.m.: Sheriff candidates Rudy Johnson, Dolph Bryan, Steve Gladney and Charles Sanders;
u 7:50 p.m.: Agriculture Commissioner candidate Max Phillips;
u 7:55 p.m.: District 35 House of Representatives candidate Shannon Crow;
u 8:00 p.m.: District Attorney candidates Forrest Allgood and Steven Wallace;
u 8:10 p.m.: Public Service Commission candidate Bruce Burton;
u 8:15 p.m.: State Governor candidates Hudson Holliday, Dave Dennis (sending a representative) and Ron Williams;
u Entertainment with the Happy Arnold Singers will begin approximately 8:35 p.m.