Downtown businesses boom during Bulldog Bash

DNCE’s Joe Jonas sings to the crowd during Bulldog Bash on Main Street. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

People browsed tents in downtown Starkville and music flowed through the air on Friday during the Bulldog Bash Maroon Market.

Main Street businesses welcomed throngs of shoppers to their doorsteps for the first time in conjunction with an event that was held in the Cotton District in the past.

Book Mart & Cafe owner Carolyn Abadie said the event reminded her of the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin’ Festival that was held on Main street a few years ago. The setup was similar, with artists and vendors lining the streets.

Abadie expressed her excitement for the festive atmosphere of the event during its first year in downtown Starkville.

“We’re enjoying seeing a lot of the vendors coming in and visiting,” Abadie said. “We’re going to open our door so we can hear the live music, pretty soon.”

Mary Cockrell, who works as a sales associate at Aspen Bay, was positioned closer to the event, this year, than in the past. Even in the early hours of the Maroon Market, she said foot traffic increased.

“It used to be in the (Cotton) District so it really didn’t change anything in the store, but now it’s right here,” Cockrell said. “I feel like it’s good for Main Street and everybody here.”

Occasions Gift Shop set up booths alongside artists and pop-up vendors in front of their shop.

“We’re usually pretty busy the Friday before a home football game, but this is way cooler — there’s live music and it’s just neat,” Occasions owner Mandee Lewis said. “It has great vibes … and I feel like it will be safer as far as with people being able to move around.”

Rosa Da Lomba, owner of The Pop Porium, had foot vendors walking around Main Street, a tent on South Lafayette Street and a table in front of the store.

“This is my first Bulldog Bash, so I don’t have much to compare it to,” Da Lomba said. “I think it’s nice they have it down here. It’s nice to see the vendors come out and everyone setting up and making Main Street look great.”

Nine-Twentynine Coffee Bar had a table set up in front of their patio. Guests sat on the patio at tables but were also able to get the usual drinks inside or beer and tacos at the table outside.

Nine-Twentynine general manager Jonette Shurden said the extra setup was hard work, but she hopes to see the Maroon Market and Bulldog Bash return to Main Street every year.

“We had to think of all the possibilities and plan for different contingency plans, but it has been good,” Shurden said. “I feel like it’s smart to have it downtown. It makes more sense. There are more options and it gives more people a chance to be a part of it, so I feel like it’s going to work well.”