Held each April in the historic Cotton District in Starkville, Mississippi, the festival blends incredible art, music, and food into a showcase event. The festival is host to more than 125 artisans, as well as a Juried Art competition and show, Writer's Village, Taste of Starkville restaurant competition, Pet Parade, Student Art competition, and much more. Presented by the Starkville Area Arts Council, the Cotton District Arts Festival has been named one of the top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association, a Top 20 Event in the Southeast, and one of the top 5 festivals in Mississippi for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and again in 2019, by Mississippi Magazine.
Have a question? These are just some of the questions we have received over the years. If you have a question that is not answered here, feel free to contact us!
Will I get the same spot? There is no guarantee that we can offer returning vendors the same spot. Placement of the Festival is subject to City approval every year and is impacted by a wide variety of issues.
When will I hear back from my application?Decisions will be sent by email, and start going out on/after the first deadline for your particular village. Although some villages may accept late applications, priority consideration is given to those who apply before the first deadline. Check the Applications page for various deadlines.
Why wasn't I accepted? We do not provide feedback on individual submissions. Each year, submissions have become more and more competitive, particularly among arts and crafts vendors who sell similar types of products. Some general suggestions:
Don't rely on old photographs.
Show all the products you intend to sell.
Describe your process if it’s not clear that your work is made by you.
Remember: you are competing against vendors from across the southeast. Your frog-shaped glass slippers may be the best in your state, but if there is another vendor who makes frog-shaped glass slippers, only one of you may get accepted.
Is there WIFi? This varies based upon the carrier. Be prepared to make manual cash/check sales on the day of the festival, in the event that WiFi or cell service is unavailable.
Are there ATMs? There are limited ATMs in the area. Bring cash that you feel necessary to make change.
What's the crowd like? The festival opens at 9 a.m. The crowd is usually heaviest between 10:30 and 3:00 p.m. This is highly variable when the weather shifts.
If I sell out, can I leave early? No. The streets are blocked. You can enjoy the festival, but you will not be able to break down your booth until 5:00 p.m.
I have a license to sell MSU stuff - why don't you allow it? Because the Festival is geared toward artists who aren't as lucky as you to sell licensed work. Most attendees and vendors have asked us to keep out licensed work. This is consistent with the approach of the Mississippi Craftsmen’s Guild. Our suggestion: ask MSU (or any other university) to promote your work to their alumni and student networks. Those are much bigger than CDAF. Anyone who violates this the day of the festival will be asked to leave and may not be accepted to future festivals.
Can I send you sales tax information after the festival? Absolutely not. We are required to turn over every vendor's information AND PAYMENT to the Department of Revenue with 10 days of the Festival. If you leave without paying (or submitting a form indicated zero sales), then you are unlikely to be admitted the following year.
Another vendor has copied my work! What do I do?! Contact a lawyer or the craftsman's guild in your state. We are unable to resolve this type of (rare) vendor disputes.