Sunday was filled with music, art and sizzling sun as the monthly event Sunday Funday returned for its third year.
Touted as a day to celebrate the city of Starkville and the art of its residents, Sunday Funday is the passion project of several local business owners and artisans, including People’s Cup Microroastery owner Blair Edwards, though he admits making it happen originally did take persistence.
"I had to force it to happen last year," Edwards said.
Edwards, who owns and runs The People's Cup MicroRoastery, said the turnout for the year’s opening event for both vendors and attendees was higher than last year. He acknowledged part of the success of the event has been the addition of sponsors and a board for better oversight.
When Sunday Funday began, the event had no sponsors, but now it is sponsored by a variety of businesses and organizations around town, most notably the Starkville Area Arts Council.
Dogs were among the many attendees Sunday relaxing in the shady courtyard on University Drive that houses the event. Vendors had booths displaying art, pottery and other handmade creations.
Justin Mayfield, a vendor selling his pottery, set up his table despite wearing a cast on his right hand. Mayfield injured himself throwing his pottery in March and said he misses being able to create.
Mayfield is no stranger to events like this, having displayed art at other similar venues around town.
For others, this Sunday Funday was the start of something different.
Holley Rumbarger, known on stage as Ilex and 8 Strings, opened the event with a mixture of covers and originals. Rumbarger had previously performed at Sunday Funday last year as a member of a group, but this was her first time playing solo at the event.
Echoing Edward's sentiment, Rumbarger said the turnout had definitely improved from last year. Rumbarger had been a longtime resident of Starkville but recently moved to Hattiesburg to pursue career opportunities.
Rumbarger said the importance of events like Sunday Funday could not be overstated.
"Events like this create a sense of family for the community," Rumbarger said. "They bring the community together over art and music."
While acquiring sponsors made the event easier, Edwards had a much better indication of the event's staying power before anyone agreed to sponsor it.
"People showed up," Edwards said. "These are people who live here. We just wanted them to come together on one day and celebrate the community."
The next Sunday Funday is scheduled for June 30.
Sunday Funday will continue on the last Sunday of every month until October.