For Mississippi State University’s opening football season weekend, students can experience a taste of tradition at Starkville’s annual Night Market. A part of New South Weekends, the Night Market offers pop-up vendors, craft beer tastings, live music and more. The event is open to all tourists, locals, families and Bulldog fans visiting Starkville for the football weekend.
This year’s Night Market will take place from 5-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6 in Fire Station Park, located at 503 East Lampkin St. According to starkville.org, the open-air market boasts an “urban street vibe meets county fair charm,” featuring unique, indie vendors, pop-up shops, artisans and live music.
The current line up of vendors includes Curio, GLO, George-Mary’s, Merle Norman, Luna Bella, Jovial Art, The Pop Porium, Nine-Twenty-Nine Coffee Bar, The Flower Company, Dunkington Art and Jewelry, Munson and Brothers, Cummings Custom Wood Projects and more.
Admission to browse booths from local shops at the Night Market is free to the public. Several Starkville crafters are set to sell cash and carry items during the event. Paige Watson, special events and projects coordinator for the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, promises attendees a beautiful night under string lights.
“We have live music and this year’s décor is sure to please the eye,” said Watson. “It’s so fun to shop at this outdoor market.”
In addition to the open market, the Night Market will feature a special ticketed craft beverage tasting. Ticket purchasers will have the opportunity to sample a number of regional craft beers. Tasting tickets are currently available for purchase online for $25, and tickets will also be sold at the event until they are sold out. A signature cup will also be included with every ticket purchase.
The Night Market has been a pre-game-day tradition since 2016, and this will be the event’s fourth year. This annual event is organized by the Greater Starkville Development Partnership (GSDP), a group comprised of the Starkville Area Chamber of Commerce, Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority, Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Starkville Main Street Association.
The GSDP strives to improve the quality of life for all citizens of Starkville and Oktibbeha County through promoting innovative educational and community initiatives, business growth, job creation and tourism. The GSDP is currently the leader of community and economic development, as well as tourism, in the Starkville and Oktibbeha County area. The partnership plans to retain this title by recognizing the rich diversity of the state of Mississippi, and reflecting it in all the GSDP does.
“We believe in the inclusive treatment of all people,” says the partnership’s website. “We are our best when everyone is equally engaged and valued.”
Alesia Lucas, the owner of George-Mary’s, a local clothing store, opened her business in 2016 without a physical location. Thanks to public events like the Night Market, Lucas was able to promote her business beyond pop-up shops, trunk shows and online shopping.
“I have been very successful at each market and truly love the atmosphere it creates in Starkville—so much livelihood in the local vendors, makers, game day crowd and students,” Lucas said. “I enjoy it on both sides, as a customer and as a vendor.”
Lucas has participated in Starkville’s Night Market since its debut in 2016. She says she looks forward to being a part of it each year. The Night Market offers students a relaxing and fun atmosphere following a stressful school week. Kendra Sanders, a senior biomedical engineering major, enjoyed her experience at the event in previous years.
“I enjoy the inviting and lively atmosphere that Starkville’s night market creates each year for its participants,” Sanders said. “The tents and booths display all kinds of talents and hobbies from the city’s locals, and it’s fun to walk around, see friends and listen to the live music that ties the whole night together.”