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SEC Road Trip: Starkville, Mississippi

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Things to do around the town for the Gamecocks’ trip to “Stark Vegas”

NCAA Football: Alabama at Mississippi State Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

In the second week of the season, South Carolina will be in Starkville to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. It will be the Gamecocks’ first visit to Davis Wade Stadium since a 14-12 victory in October of 2011.

The nickname “Stark Vegas” is something that has been embraced by people and students of Starkville. But you will not find any casinos in Starkville - instead, you will find a small, friendly town that is home to Mississippi State University.

Personally I have visited Starkville a few times. My sister is a graduate of Mississippi State and lived in Starkville for about six years. A thing to do would be to visit the campus.

Mississippi State has a very nice, large campus. The athletic facilities have improved from when I was last there to help compete within the SEC. When I was last there The Palmieiro Center was being finished up. Named after former Bulldog baseball star and MLB All-Star Rafael Palmieiro, the building is the main athletic facility that holds offices for coaches and staff. It also has both indoor football and baseball facilities. MSU has also renovated and expanded both the baseball and football stadium. The expansion on the baseball stadium (Dudy-Noble Field) just finished last year, and it now rivals any baseball facility in the country.

Davis-Wade Stadium has also undergone a renovation and expansion of its own, closing in one end zone to bring the capacity up to just over 61,000. Mississippi State has pumped a lot of money into the stadium over the past decade, adding new locker rooms, offices, video boards, and seats inside the stadium, while adding new tailgating areas around the stadium.

My sister left Starkville in 2011 and returned for Mississippi State’s homecoming last season. Since she has left, that area of town had grown significantly. The town has made a big effort the last few years to grow the area. Many new shops and restaurants have opened up, so you will notice a few national franchises along with places unique to Starkville. One place to visit in town would be the Cotton District. It is home to many shops, restaurants, and old-style buildings that give it the look of an old-style southern town.

One problem you definitely will not have in Starkville is finding a good place to eat. There are many restaurants that are unique to the area and provide a great variety of food. Two places I remember from being there include Oby’s Cajun Dining, a local favorite since being founded in the 1970s. The other is The Little Dooey, a BBQ joint founded in 1985. The Little Dooey was the first restaurant my sister took my family to in Starkville and it has always remained our favorite. It was also featured on Todd Blackledge’s “Taste of the Town” segments during games on ESPN.

To find more specific things to do and places to stay in Starkville you can visit the town’s database at www.starkville.org.