The 20th annual Bulldog Bash starts this afternoon with the main stage opening at 6 p.m. and the local stage at opening at 3 p.m. alongside the Maroon Market, Kids Zone and food vendors.
The main stage lineup is Yonder Windbreakers, Cale Dodds, The Beaches and T-Pain, and the local stage line up is Wyly Bigger, The Quiet Calm, Spontaneous Generation, Ty Trehern and Conner Martin.
New this year to Bulldog Bash are increased security measures. Sgt. Brandon Lovelady, the public information officer for the Starkville Police Department, said they are making every effort to ensure the safety of those at the event, starting with mandatory bag checks.
“We are implementing a 100% bag and carried items check,” Lovelady said. “As always, no firearms, weapons and illegal items and substances. That is where it begins and ends. Security measures like this are the norm these days.”
With expectations that this will be the largest Bulldog Bash on record, Lovelady said they will have designated entry and exit locations that will also serve as security check points.
While there are three different entry gates, Lovelady encourages attendees to enter through the south gate since it is the main and largest of the entry points.
“This is expected to be the biggest one we have had,” Lovelady said. “The south entrance is the main entrance and where we are pushing for people to enter through,” Lovelady said. “We also want people to know there will be separate lines for people with bags and without bags.”
Alongside the mandatory bag checks, Lovelady said there will also be metal detectors and other security measures at every entry gate.
“The visitors’ safety is our number one priority,” Lovelady said. “The approach we are using is similar to any concert and public event. We want people to feel safe and focus on the enjoying their time.”
Jennifer Prather, interim president and CEO for the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, said she wants guests to be aware that Main Street will remain open throughout the day with many stores closing at 6 p.m.
“We want people to know Main Street is not closed for business,” Prather said. “It will be more difficult to access those businesses, but we highly encourage people to go.”
Prather also encourages everyone to be aware of the road closure maps that are available on the city’s website and social media accounts.
“We want to continue to support our local businesses and get people acclimated with how to get around downtown when the roads close,” Prather said. “We don't want parking to deter people from experiencing this event.”
In regard to areas for public parking, Prather said people who arrive before 6 p.m. should be able to find parking in the public lots behind Sullivans Office Supply and Starkville Cafe, but after 6 p.m., people should look for parking down University Drive, on adjacent roads or utilize bank parking lots.
“The Boy Scouts will also have a lot on Russell Street and will be charging for parking as a fundraiser,” Prather said. “This is a great way to get good parking and support local organizations.”
Prather also noted that shuttles will be transporting event attendees on campus from the pick up point at Montgomery Hall.
“The shuttle can also be accessed at Maxwell and Russell street so you could also park at The Mill,” Prather said. “If you take the shuttle from there, it will take you right at the corner where the entrance is located.”
Whether people can only come for the local stage or want to stay the entire time, Prather said she hopes people will enjoy the event and experience the beauty of downtown Starkville.
“We are just really excited to host a large crowd in our downtown,” Prather said. “Having people experience our downtown area is an important way for people to see and understand our community.”