Starkville comes alive with art at annual Cotton District Arts Festival

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – The Cotton District Arts Festival is one of the biggest local events of the year gathering thousands of artists and residents to celebrate the arts.

Every year, the festival took over the entirety of the Cotton District for the day showcasing local artists’ work to residents.

This event has been drawing people to Starkville for decades. Organizers estimated around 25,000 people came to Starkville last year for the event.

Starkville Area Arts Council Program Director Juliette Reid said the festival brings in people because of its celebration of the arts.

“It really has a tourism impact and we do it on weekends when there really isn’t anything else going on so all the tourism that comes into town is because of the Cotton District Arts Festival, and I think it is because we have really cultivated this atmosphere of a love of the arts,” said Reid.

SAAC has put on many events during the year to bring attention to local artists, but this is by far the most successful. Reid said it is good for vendors to get exposure.

“A lot of times, this is an artisan’s biggest weekend of the year. So, other than money in their pockets, it’s great for a lot of new vendors. There are a lot of vendors this year, who it is their first time vending anywhere on this scale, and it is really just cultivating artists,” said Reid.

This year’s festival saw 94 vendors. New and long-time vendors love the event and the community atmosphere.

“This is one of the best festivals that we have ever had. We do a lot in the region and it is definitely one of our favorites. I think the diversity of the college crowd really helps us. We know a lot of people here and it is a nice community event,” said Joe MacGown, Artist.

“I was born and raised in Starkville and I grew up coming to this festival every year. Ever since I was a little girl, it brightened me up just to see all the art. This is the only time, once a year, that Starkville has something like this. So, it is a pretty big deal, and I am very grateful to be a part of it,” said Mary Jones, Artist.

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