Formerly known as Scott Field, Davis Wade Stadium, the home of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, has undergone many facelifts over the last fifteen years. The stadium, which originally opened in 1914 holding 20,000 fans, now holds over 55,000 fans and will expand to over 60,000 for the 2014 season.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Perhaps the thing that jumps out the most about the concessions at Davis Wade has been the online angst over the hot dogs. Bryan Foods had supplied hot dogs at Mississippi State for quite some time, but in 2012, Carolina Pride became the hot dog provider. Fans have been up in arms ever since.
Besides hot dogs, Mississippi State provides a multitude of concession options, including barbecue from Dreamland and burgers from the popular Mugshots restaurant, located in Starkville and a few other Mississippi cities.
Other items include more traditional stadium options through the Aramark vendors, pizza from Little Caesars, boiled peanuts, and snow cones.
All in all, prices are fair when compared to other stadiums, and the quality of the food is surprisingly good for a stadium.
While Davis Wade Stadium does not provide the same atmosphere as larger SEC stadiums, Bulldog fans have made the venue stand out for one reason above any other: the use of cowbells during the game.
Though the Southeastern Conference banned cowbells for quite some time, Bulldog fans often brought them to games in defiance of the rule, and the SEC finally relented to allow cowbells to be used in certain situations.
During breaks in the action, fans are kept entertained with a variety of games utilizing the enormous high-definition video board at the stadium. In addition to the games on the video board, fans can also interact using social media through tweets and photos posted to the video board by use of hashtags on Twitter.
Davis Wade Stadium may not have had a more intense game day atmosphere than it did in 1998-2000, when it was known as Scott Field and the Bulldogs were near the top of the SEC, but the strong SEC fan base still makes for a great atmosphere.
Starkville has taken a lot of pot shots over the years as not being a great place for college students or fun place on football weekends. Years ago, it may have been the town that fun forgot, but the city has changed much since that time.
While there are many bars in town that will feature mostly college students, there are a variety of other places to go in the downtown area that will not feel quite as much like the college scene.
A few popular spots include BIN 612, Old Venice Pizza Company, Restaurant Tyler, Dave's Dark Horse Tavern, and perhaps the most well-known and famous of them all, Little Dooey.
If anyone has watched ESPN, they will know most of the crew are fanatics about the barbecue at the Little Dooey.
If Davis Wade Stadium was located closer to the downtown area, the rating would be higher. As it is, fans either have to battle gridlock in a car or take a 20-minute walk to the downtown area.
As of September 21, 2013, the Mississippi State Bulldogs had sold out 25 consecutive home games, an impressive feat for the team, and most of the fans are not disguised as empty seats when the games begins.
While most fans will enjoy time tailgating with friends before and after the game, the main attraction in Starkville is the football game itself. Armed with their cowbells, their goal is to turn Davis Wade Stadium into a hostile environment for any opponent.
While there would be no way to truly enforce the new cowbell rule, save forcing Mississippi State to forfeit games, for the most part, fans abide by the rules regarding their use, and the team has done a good job helping fans "ring responsibly" with the use of signage during the game.
Until about a decade ago, getting to Starkville meant driving in a line of traffic along a two-lane highway, but that has changed. The traffic flow around the city on Highway 82 has been altered to make it easier to access Mississippi State University.
Several public grass lots are available to those without parking passes at the cost of $20. Parking at the Wise Center, which houses the broadcasting department and the veterinary school on campus, is about a 10-minute walk to the stadium.
There are also several parking areas off campus for various prices. These parking spots may be more beneficial for those hoping to go out to the downtown area after the game.
One of the benefits of going to a Mississippi State football game is that the Bulldogs play in the SEC, which means that fans can go and watch top-notch programs on a regular basis.
With tickets starting at $25 for most games, a family of four can get into the stadium for $100. A trip to the concession stand will probably cost that family about $50, and parking will cost an additional $20.
In all, it will probably cost a family between $175 and $200 to attend a Mississippi State football game if purchasing single-game tickets through the school's ticket office.
The ringing of cowbells gives Davis Wade a unique (some might say annoying) atmosphere that is not found anywhere else in college football.
A second star goes to the history of the stadium, as it is the second-oldest on-campus stadium in FBS football. Surprisingly (at least to the best of my knowledge), this is not noted anywhere around the stadium.
Mississippi State picks up two more bonus stars for their efforts in disseminating game day information to the public. For up-to-date information on parking lot availability, status of road openings and closures and more, those going to the game should follow @HailStateOps on twitter. Fans can also download a game day app for the Bulldogs.
A final star goes to the fact that Barnes and Noble sells t-shirts, cowbells and more inside the stadium at prices that are comparable, and in some cases, better, to their prices in their store next door to the stadium.
Located in Starkville, Mississippi, Davis Wade Stadium and the Mississippi State campus are both found amidst the bucolic countryside just outside of Starkville. Davis Wade Stadium has bragging rights as being one of the oldest stadiums in Division 1-A football, originally opening in 1914. Major reconstruction in the 40's and the current renovations in 2002 have brought capacity to just over 55,000.
Tailgating in The Junction was a sea of tailgate tents, an electric atmosphere with students and fans tailgating side by side. The stadium towering over the tailgate scene helped to increase the anticipation for the game, and it was a quick walk to get in to the gate and to the stands from there.
In the stadium, cowbells rang in a deafening unison which kept the crowd involved throughout the game.
I agree with the official review that the postgame traffic was gridlock, so finding a parking spot farther out and walking is probably a good idea.
Lastly, I would recommend a place called Oby's in Starkville to go for a meal. Great hot sandwiches and a unique local atmosphere.
The experience you will have at Davis Wade Stadium is amazing. The best part about it is the cowbells. If you are a state fan you love them. If you aren't you hate them... The tailgating was great, way better than the Grove at Ole Miss. When you drive on campus you can see the GIANT HD jumbotron from there. Great.
The one thing you will notice about Mississippi State is the fact there are cowbells all over the place. Though when I went a few years back, it said on the ticket AND the stadium policy sign "no cowbells." Obviously that has changed. But overall besides the cowbells, there isn't anything that stands out at Davis Wade.
FOOD: Limited in variety, but what they do have is very tasty, such as their bbq pulled pork sandwich.
ATMOSPHERE: The place has a good college feel to it and with the Cowbells it does add another dimension to the place.
NEIGHBORHOOD: How I view it is simple: off the campus you have a McDonald's and a retirement community. That's about it.
FANS: They were into the game just fine and were pretty intelligent. Not overly friendly however.
ACCESS: Ha. Easy to get to the campus, but unless you have any kind of parking pass, you're going to be a very good while trying to find a parking spot. It seems if you don't have a parking pass, you're in a world of trouble.
ROI: If you get a cheap ticket (which they are easy to come by), you get what you pay for. If you pay a lot for tickets to Mississippi State, you won't get much.
EXTRAS: I loved their large scoreboard. One of the best around. Bathrooms are the cleanest I've been to and if you're on the sidelines on the road side, you have concourses that are climate-controlled.
110 E Main St
Starkville, MS 39759
410 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Dr E
Starkville, MS 39759
612 University Dr
Starkville, MS 39759
100 E Main St
Starkville, MS 39759
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