Starkville Regional is expected to bring in large crowds
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on businesses last year, including those in Starkville. On Friday, June 4, 2021, Mississippi State hosts an NCAA Baseball Regional, and fans will be back in the stands. This means the tourism industry is looking at a big boost this weekend. America’s favorite pastime is expected to bring thousands to Dudy Noble Field, and businesses have prepared for crowds that they haven’t seen in nearly two years.
“That just gets more eyes. Even the folks that don’t come to the games that see them on tv. It justs gets wonderful and positive exposure to our community and shows everybody that we are Mississippi’s college town,” said Greater Starkville Development Partnership tourism director Paige Hunt.
Hunt said businesses tried to pull people in before the first pitch on Friday.
“Our main street association is doing an event on Thursday night. Tickets are still available. It’s called sales and ales. Each of our participating retailers will be offering a different craft beer for tasting and 20% off of their merchandise,” said Hunt.
More people are ready to spend money, and that means more workers are needed.
“Specifically for our hotels and restaurants and retailers, it’s going to be a great weekend with tourists coming in to watch the game. Our hotels are already anticipating a sell-out Our restaurants are expecting great big crowds and our retailers are looking to welcoming these visitors from out of town,” said Hunt.
Empty chairs are what was seen last year as Covid-19 forced businesses to limit their capacity, but with eased restrictions and the Mississippi State baseball team hosting a regional tournament owner of Little Dooey’s in Starkville, Bart Wood said he was thrilled to fill their seats again.
“We turned ourselves into a curbside type business but now we’ve got 100% inside you’ve got 100% at Mississippi State at the baseball park this weekend so there will be a ton of people in Starkville and we’re just very excited and very happy that this is finally over and we can get back to normal now,” said Wood.
Wood said things slowed once Mississippi State students left for the summer but the baseball regional and super-regional will help the restaurant’s bottom line.
“I mean you’re probably going to have 10,000 people here this weekend and that’s just money in the bank for us and all the merchandisers because we have people coming and they’ll be here two or three days and you know it’s just a good time for everybody,” said Wood.
Wood and Hunt encourage those that make their way to Starkville to continue practicing safety and above all to have fun.