BY MATT CRANE
The Greater Starkville Development Partnership kicks off a year-long celebration today honoring 175th anniversary of Starkville’s 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’s birthday.
Paige Lawes, owner of Three Generations Tea Room, became chairman of the event’s committee in December and said residents can look forward to a good time at the event.
“It’s just going to be so much fun,” 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.
“We’ve got a really great group,” she said. “A lot of what we have planned will coincide with events throughout the year, and we’re hoping people will want to really get involved.”
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’s past.
Jennifer Gregory, Greater Starkville Development Partnership vice president of tourism, said she and the partnership are excited about hosting the event.
“We think this is really going to encourage people in Starkville to learn more about our history,” Gregory said. “It’s a time for us to come together and celebrate where we’ve come from.”
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’s 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 “Happy Birthday.”
Mayor Parker Wiseman will read a proclamation during today’s program near the town clock. He said he is thrilled to take part in this milestone of the community.
“This event allows us to celebrate the accomplishment of our past and renew ourselves for the future,” Wiseman said.
As the great-great-grandson of Starkville’s first mayor who founded this town in 1837, committee member Dero Ramsey has an especially close connection with today’s event.
“It’s an important thing for us to see the times we’ve been through,” Ramsey said, “and hopefully it’ll help us see where we’re going.”
Wiseman said meeting Dero and connecting to Starkville’s history was a very special experience.
Eight generations of committee member Carole McReynolds Davis’ 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’s history.
“I just felt like I needed to repay my ancestors,” Davis said.
Davis created a display for the celebration gathering photographs of some of the first families of Starkville.
“It’s all just so wonderful,” 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.