By STEVEN NALLEY
Inside the Starkville Convention and Visitors’ Bureau’s new spring campaign, the CVB marketing team has hidden a subtle response to a few unsubtle tweets.
The area of the site explaining the campaign carries a classroom motif: “Grab your seat in our State’s study hall of culture,” “Savor Our South events are required attendance” and “Class is now in session.”
Jennifer Gregory, vice president for tourism development with the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, said the word “class” has a double meaning.
“There’s been a lot on Twitter, a lot of hate from around our friends up north,” Gregory said. “(They say,) ‘Starkville doesn’t have any class,’ (or,) ‘We’re the Old South.’ Well, we are the New South; we do have class.”
Wednesday, the CVB unveiled the Savor Our South campaign, promoting local events running through late winter and early spring.
The campaign is the successor to the Dog Days of Summer and New South Weekends seasonal campaigns, the latter of which tied in local events such as Bulldog Bash and Pumpkinpalooza with Mississippi State University home football games. While Savor Our South prominently features MSU basketball and baseball events, including Super Bulldog Weekend, Gregory said the focus is distinct from New South Weekends.
“The New South Weekends are very collegiate, very football-oriented,” Gregory said. “The Savor Our South series is basically very cultural. There are a lot of cultural events that take place in the spring. There will be six weekends we market as part of the official series, but then other events will be promoted as well.”
Gregory said the CVB website’s Savor Our South schedule will be updated with extra events within and outside the six weekends. She said she was happy with the way the campaign turned out, crediting the marketing team.
“It was a total group effort,” Gregory said.
This past weekend marked the first in the Savor Our South series, featuring the Golden Triangle Kennel Club Dog Show Saturday and Sunday and a men’s basketball game between MSU and Alabama Saturday. The second weekend features the Dudy Gras Parade on Feb. 3 and a men’s basketball game between MSU and Auburn.
The third weekend features two MSU men’s basketball games against Ole Miss on Feb. 9 and Georgia on Feb. 11. Between the games, visitors can enjoy the Rotary Classic Rodeo at the Mississippi Horse Park Feb. 10-11.
The fourth weekend features MSU’s first baseball series of 2012 against Washington State on Feb. 17-19. It also features the Magnolia Independent Film Festival Feb. 16-18, with two dozen films and opportunities to meet their makers.
The fifth weekend begins with the return of UnWINE Downtown on March 22, followed by an MSU baseball series against Arkansas March 23-25. The weekend also features the Everything Garden Expo March 24-25 and the Historic Starkvegas 10K Run March 24.
The Savor Our South campaign closes with Super Bulldog Weekend April 20-22, featuring a baseball series against Tennessee April 19-21. After relocating to a separate weekend in 2011, the Cotton District Arts Festival will reunite with Super Bulldog Weekend April 21. Finally, Davis-Wade Stadium will host its first-ever concert April 21, featuring the Grammy-winning country music duo Sugarland.