In addition to great gridiron action at Davis Wade Stadium, this fall’s football season also brings the return of New South Weekends for its fifth year, kicking off on Thursday, September 10! The Starkville Main Street Association was honored this summer to receive the award for Best Image or Branding Program from the Mississippi Main Street Association for the development of the series, and this year’s slate of events to be launched next week promises to be more fun than ever. One of our most popular programs, New South Weekends aims to expand the community’s hospitality on home game weekends as we welcome Bulldog Nation to Starkville during the Mississippi State University football season.
New South Weekends began in 2011 as plans generated during a Mississippi Main Street design charrette for the Starkville community began to materialize. The idea for the series came in response to needs identified during the charrette, with the goal of expanding Starkville game weekend traffic beyond football Saturdays to include Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons as well. The Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau adopted “Mississippi’s College Town” as the community’s marketing identity, and began to develop New South Weekends as the brand’s signature program. NSW has grown in popularity each year as we’ve developed a diverse series of Friday evening events prior to each MSU home game. The series also features special shopping hours on game weekend Sundays called Bulldog Brunch & Browse, promoting Starkville’s unique local shopping venues along with our regionally prominent culinary scene.
As we prepare to launch the fifth year of New South weekends, we’re taking a look back at the past years of the series and it’s award-winning image campaigns. With signature events like Pumpkinpalooza, the downtown harvest-fest, unWINE Downtown, a seasonal wine tasting and shopping event, and the incorporation of Christmas Open House, New South Weekends is anchored by annual events produced by Starkville Main Street and the Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau.
In addition, SCVB has welcomed other community events to the schedule each year — events like Bulldog Bash, the largest free outdoor concert in Mississippi, bringing thousands of concert-goers to the Cotton District, and the Junior Auxiliary ChiliFest held each year at the MSU Amphitheater, showcasing hot bowls from favorite local restaurants. In years when the annual “Egg Bowl” contest with the University of Mississippi is held in Starkville on Thanksgiving weekend, the Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau hosts Black Friday Bonanza to offer expanded bulldog deals on the nation’s biggest shopping day of the year. Sometimes New South Weekends include Thursday or Monday events when unique opportunities like this year’s Mac McAnally concert bring added excitement!
Take a look at this retrospective of New South Weekends posters from the first four years, and be sure to tune in next week as we reveal the 2015 poster and campaign on our website! We hope you’ll plan to spend the whole weekend in Starkville when you travel for MSU home games. Don’t miss the fifth year of New South Weekends!