Category Archives: Culture/Entertainment

Bring Your Kids, Bring Your Cameras, and Come on Out to the XMAS Tree Lighting and Caroling Downtown!

Bring Your Kids and Come on Out to the XMAS Tree Lighting Downtown!

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Tonight is the annual lighting of the biggest and best Christmas tree around, says Main Street Columbus Executive Director Barbara Bigelow: “Everyone is invited to gather from 5:30-7 p.m. at the east end of the Tombigbee pedestrian bridge where the city will have one of the beautiful magnolia trees decorated.”

Kylee Price, then 3, is held up by her father Eliot Price during the 2015 Christmas tree lighting at the Riverwalk. This year’s official lighting festivities are Monday from 5:30-7 p.m. Photo Courtesy of The Dispatch

Fourth graders from Cook Elementary will be singing carols starting at 5:30PM, and Mayor Robert Smith will light the tree at about 6:15 p.m. Kids will be able to make craft items to take home, and everyone will have hot chocolate and cookies; representatives will also be accepting new, unwrapped toys for children aged 3 to 12 for the community toy drive.

Santa & Miz Claus will be on hand, along with a professional shutterbug to help preserve memories of the night’s festivities. Local event sponsors include Rex’s Rentals; Colin Krieger, RE/MAX Partners, Starkville-Columbus; DMayfield Photography; Visit Columbus; McAlister’s; and Coffeehouse on 5th.

“We hope everyone will bring their friends and families and enjoy this free community event,” said Bigelow. “This beautiful evening will give all kids, young and old, a wonderful, joyous time together — a night of family fun.”

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New Terry Brown Amphitheater Phase 1 Done, Usable for Free Events. Phase 2 Next Up

New Terry Brown Amphitheater Phase 1 Done, Usable for Free Events. Phase 2 Next Up

Columbus, MS – The Dispatch

The Terry Brown Amphitheater (Phase I) on the Westbank of the river

The new Terry Brown Amphitheater, located on the west bank of the river, as part of the Columbus Riverwalk, has completed Phase 1 of its construction, and they’re ready for Phase 2 to begin as soon as funding can be raised. The work thus far has cost about $3 million, and another $2.5 million or so is being called for in order to finish everything up.

City Engineer Kevin Stafford said that going over the usual list of making sure every little thing works properly is all that needs to be done before formally turning over the keys to the City itself: “We’ll be testing all the systems next week to make sure everything’s ready to go,” Stafford said. “What you have is basically the same thing as across the river (an existing outdoor stage under the Old Highway 82 bridge with grass seating). It’s just bigger, less likely to flood and is fully ADA accessible.”

Once these tests and inspections are all done, the amphitheater facility will be usable for free events; once everything else is done (such as fencing, ticketing, permanent restrooms, etc), it will be usable for private and paid events, as well. Stafford says that, once funding is secured, “I would estimate it would take about nine months, start to finish.” All of the physical infrastructure and groundwork is in place already.

“It’s a great facility,” said Barbara Bigelow, director of Main Street Columbus. “At this point, I haven’t discussed how we might use it. Sounds of Summer could certainly be held there, but people love where it is now, so I’m not sure my board would want to move. But I do think there is a lot of potential for the new facility. It’s another attraction for our downtown and we’re excited to see what happens there.”

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Inventive MSU Students Turning Golf Carts into Gold

Inventive MSU Students Turning Golf Carts into Gold

STARKVILLE, MS – Starkville Daily News

CFO Cameron Maddox, 19, left, and COO James Moore, 19, of Cowbell Carts (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)

MSU students Sophomores James Moore and Cameron Maddox are launching Starkville’s first micro-transportation system, called “Cowbell Carts.” Each of their two carts (at the moment) can seat six passengers comfortably, and the young men plan to use them to help people travel safely during busy times hours, e.g. acting as designated drivers, shuttling people to big games from distant parking lots, etc. Their initial coverage area will include primarily MSU’s campus, the Cotton District, and Main Street. The cost for a ride for a group of people from Main Street to the dorms will be about $8 total.

“I think we are really going to provide a service that not only makes everyone safer, but it’s going to be really fun and entertaining,” Moore said. He went on to say that their company was inspired by the observation that college towns, such as Starkville, tend to have a vibrant night life; thus, the decision was made to offer a low-cost, safe way to get people where they’re going while they’re out on the town.

While not everyone has been as enthusiastic about the prospects for such a business, their professors and the college have given them valuable criticism and supported their idea: “We try to take the criticism as constructive,” Moore said. “I’ve been relying heavily on people that have much more experience than I do.”

While they plan to keep it a 2-man operation at first, in order to test the waters, they plan to expand once football season begins. They know that the road ahead is uncertain – as they need to balance their new jobs with their scholastix endeavors – but they are confident that they can pull this off, and they are willing to work hard in order that they succeed on both fronts: “When you’re thinking of the idea, let your head go to the clouds,” Maddox said. “But when it comes down to actually making the business, you’ve got to be on the ground.”

Cowbell Carts is projected to have a ribbon cutting ceremony sometime between Aug. 7 and Aug 11. The company will begin immediately when school starts back for Mississippi State students this fall.

“I’m obviously incredibly excited for this to be here, not just because it’s my business but it’s something that Starkville doesn’t have and Starkville needs,” Moore said. “I think Starkville and the campus is going to see a lot of good come out of this.”

Business hours will be every Thursday through Saturday from 6 P.M. to 2 A.M.

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Starkville Farmers Market is Back

Starkville Farmers Market is Back

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Prather (courtesy

Starkville Community Market will be open this Tuesday from 4-6 p.m. at Fire Station No. 1 Park.

SCM manager and Greater Starkville Development Partnership special events coordinator Jennifer Prather reports that roughly eight to ten vendors are expected to sell early spring produce and other goods at the event; more growers and producers are expected to join when the market’s Saturday offerings begin May 6. “We’ve spoken to new vendors outside of Starkville about new offerings, like baked goods and goat’s cheese and milk. We’re looking to increase the variety,” she said.

The Market will be held at Fire Station No. 1’s greenspace, located at the intersection of Lampkin and Russell streets.

Prather went on to say, “We’re working with Starkville Utilities to help grow the capacity for electricity there. Many vendors require refrigeration for their products, so that’s a priority for us moving forward. We’re also working on a project to install new benches and garbage cans, and overall looking into other ways to better develop the area in a community friendly way . . . We’re really enjoying the location. The aesthetics make a huge difference because the area is friendly to vendors and shoppers.”

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West Point’s Old Waverly Golf Club to Host Major 2019 Women’s USGA Event

West Point’s Old Waverly Golf Club to Host Major 2019 Women’s USGA Event


Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss., will be the host site for the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. Scheduled for Aug. 5-11, this will be the third USGA championship contested at Old Waverly, which previously hosted the 1999 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2006 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.

“The USGA is proud to bring one of our three oldest championships to Old Waverly in 2019,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “The U.S. Women’s Amateur attracts the world’s best female amateur players, and we are confident Old Waverly will provide a fair and comprehensive test that identifies a champion worthy of hoisting the historic Robert Cox Trophy.”

“It is an honor to host the 119th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at Old Waverly,” said George Bryan, club founder. “We have a strong history of supporting competitive amateur golf, and we look forward to welcoming the best female amateurs in the game to our course and to the state of Mississippi in 2019.”

The 2017 Women’s Amateur will be conducted Aug. 7-13 at San Diego Country Club, in Chula Vista, Calif., and the 2018 championship will be held Aug. 6-12 at the Golf Club of Tennessee, in Kingston Springs, Tenn.

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M. Smith’s Newest Work Launches Today to Great Fanfare

M. Smith’s Newest Work Launches Today to Great Fanfare

From information obtained from the author’s publisher (Lee Boudreaux Books/Little, Brown & Co.)/Press Release and  The Dispatch


Michael Farris Smith, award-winning author of 2013’s “Rivers,” will be officially releasing his brand-new book, “Desperation Road,” to the public tonight at an event from 5 to 7 PM. The event will be held at Book Mart at 501 Main Street in downtown Columbus. Please stop by the store to pick up a copy and show your support for a local author!

The book describes “Russell Gaines on the morning he is finally released from the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections: ‘In the southern Mississippi swamp you can watch the world awaken as the pale yellow sun edges itself between the trees and moss and widewinged cranes.…Limbs too old to hold themselves up any longer bend and break like old men accepting their marshy graves.'” It goes on to tell of how he must now adapt to how the world has changed in the eleven years of his incarceration, and how he must adapt even more quickly to the angry relatives of a man whose death he was held responsible for…and that’s just for starters.

Initial reviews of the work give it high praise:

“DESPERATION ROAD is a brilliantly compelling novel dealing with an enormously difficult but fundamental reality of the human condition: how lives lived intensely for years without connection to or even knowledge of each other can suddenly intersect with profound consequences. Michael Farris Smith is a prodigiously talented writer whose new book is not only an exciting read but an important literary event.” —Robert Olen Butler, author of A Small Hotel

“A novel that lends dignity and grace to those too often damned, DESPERATION ROAD is fearless, guttural, and thunderously heartfelt. Quite simply one of our finest writers at work today, Michael Farris Smith has made his own place at the table.”—David Joy, author of Where All Light Tends to Go

“Anchored by prose that is both poetic and brutal, DESPERATION ROAD is a gorgeous and violent book. But don’t be fooled by the title. Michael Farris Smith’s novel teems with the honest and believable humanity that only the bravest writers dare to search for in the most troubled souls.” —Ivy Pochoda, author of Visitation Street

Smith was honored for his work as part of last month’s “Goose’s Grand Gala.”

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Former Knob Hill Dairy Farm Now a Beautiful Golf Course

Former Knob Hill Dairy Farm Now a Beautiful Golf Course

Mossy Oak was designed by Gil Hanse, the architect of the much-acclaimed Olympic golf course in Rio. The 9th hole (foreground) and 17th hole are both visible here. (Photo credit: Michael Clemmer.)

Mossy Oak was designed by Gil Hanse, the architect of the much-acclaimed Olympic golf course in Rio. The 9th hole (foreground) and 17th hole are both visible here. (Photo credit: Michael Clemmer.)

Mossy Oak Golf Course, built on the land which was once the Knob Hill Dairy Farm, presents golfers with unexpected challenges in a beautiful setting. Nestled near the Old Waverly Golf Course just outside of West Point, MS, the creatively-designed course was designed by Gil Hanse, who has also done work for the Olympics in Rio, among many others. World-class attractions such as these have the potential to bring in businessmen and other golfers who are looking for a good challenge, as well as people form around the country who might wish to observe any tournaments that take place in the future. All of this means publicity and tourism dollars for the GTR area, and that’s Good for Business!

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EMCC Playing Host to LAN Party and Gaming Competition This Friday

EMCC Playing Host to LAN Party and Gaming Competition This Friday


Information courtesy of the Dispatch

East Mississippi Community College (EMCC) will be holding a LAN party and video game competition this Friday at their Golden Triangle Campus outside of Columbus. IT’s scheduled for 6 PM to Midnight, and the entry fee is $5. Pizza, chips, soda, and cookies will be provided for an extra $5. Entrants of all ages are welcome, though children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult, who must sign a release form. Attendees are encouraged to bring any online-capable computer or video game systems with them, to take part in the festivities; some equipment will also be made available on-site.emcc-logo

EMCC last held such an event in March, and ninety players showed up. Information Systems Technology instructor Brandon Sesser hopes that even more folks show up this time:  “Everyone is invited to come out and game their hearts out and network with like-minded individuals,” he said. He went on to say that you never know what the other players might wish to play. It could be anything from online chess to the latest and greatest action-packed online games or long-forgotten classics.

There will also be a competition held, with the winner taking home their choice of a small EMCC Information Systems Technology program scholarship or cold, hard cash. Second place will will a Walmart gift card, and an AMazon gift card will be given away as a door prize. Players will test their skills in Mario Kart, Team Fortress, and Super Smash Bros. games, in each of three rounds. “By having them compete in different venues, it shows who the best all-around gamers are and not just who is the best on a console or who is best on a PC,” Sesser said.

Preregistration is encouraged but not required. To preregister, contact Sesser at or via Facebook at the “AITP (EMCC)” page.

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Save the Date: Friday, July 1 for Fireworks on the Water

The CVB, Columbus Air Force Base, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city are proud to present their annual Fireworks on the Water program on Friday, July 1 from 5-10 PM on the East bank of the Stennis Lock & Dam (the fireworks will be visible from the West side, as well). Come on out to enjoy the celebration, food, live entertainment, kids’ activities, and stay for the brilliant light show in the sky!

Courtesy of the Dispatch —

CVB President Nancy Carpenter

CVB XD Nancy Carpenter

Events like this help people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and just have fun as a community. “It’s not just a community event,” CVB Executive Director Nancy Carpenter said. “It’s one that the entire region comes out to enjoy.”

The event will feature jumpers, face painting and other activities for children, along with glow sticks for purchase. The fireworks display should start about 9 p.m.

Carpenter said CVB is asking that people don’t bring their own coolers or pets.

“The initial reason behind it was the Visit Columbus Board of Directors wanted to do something special for the men and women at Columbus Air Force Base,” she said. “There’s no better time than our Independence Day to do that. This is a way we can say thank you by doing something special for them and their families.”

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