Pre-race block party adds fun new feature to Star Spangled Night Run 5K

Published 3:23 pm Thursday, June 13, 2024

For six years, the Star Spangled Night Run 5K has been a good time. Now, it’s a party.

For its seventh edition on June 22, the event is undergoing a makeover that will turn it into a street festival mixed with a running race. A live band will play music, games will be set up for the kids, and drinks and food will be available before runners and walkers set off into the streets of Vicksburg at dusk.

“We’ve always focused on the big after-party, but since the race doesn’t start until 8 … it’s been fun, but we thought, ‘How can we make this more of a party?’ We’ll get the live band and start it early,” said Stacey Mahoney, the director of the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation. The Star Spangled Night Run is a fundraiser for the organization.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“This year is the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation’s 30th anniversary,” Mahoney added. “We’ve got some new events, and this is one we’ve already got in place so let’s just make it bigger to help celebrate.”

The before-party for the Night Run will begin at 6 p.m. when Keys vs. Strings takes the stage. The band will set the soundtrack throughout the evening, playing the runners off right after the start and then welcoming them back as they return.

The block of Crawford Street between Cherry and Adams streets will be blocked off for the duration of the race. It will be the staging ground for games and a food truck from Miller’s Southern Comfort Food, as well as refreshments.

“Almost set up like we do when we have our Mardi Gras carnival. There will be a cash bar, food truck, and the race starts at 8,” Mahoney said. “The runners will still get their refreshments for doing the race, and then there will be other things for people on the street. It’ll be fun.”

There is normally an after-party following the race, but with it ending so late Mahoney said most runners and walkers were ready to just get their awards and go home. She hopes turning the event into a street festival will encourage more people to participate whether they’re running, walking, or just looking for a fun way to spend a Saturday evening.

Keys vs. Strings will play until the awards ceremony begins at about 9:30 p.m.

“They’re hot and tired, they get their refreshments, they’re waiting on awards. So we thought let’s add some excitement before the race, and for those who are not doing the race and want to support and just have some fun, be here and we’ll start it early,” Mahoney said.

The registration fee for the 5K run and walk is $35 for adults and $20 for children ages 12 and under. After June 14, the fees increase to $40 and $25. The registration fee includes a race T-shirt, bib, and admission to the block party.

There is a $7 entry fee for non-racers to attend the block party, but children under 10 will be admitted free if they are accompanied by an adult.

Online registration is available through, and in-person registration can be done at the SCHF office at 1302 Adams St. For more information, visit

In its short history the Star Spangled Night Run has quickly become a staple of Vicksburg’s summer sports calendar.

Mahoney is hoping the new tweaks make it a bigger signature event for the city.

“From the beginning our goal was to have something that was different than just a normal 5K, that was more partylike,” Mahoney said. “This year we decided to dive on in and go all out with a live band.”

• Saturday, June 22, 8 p.m.
• At Southern Cultural Heritage Center, corner of Crawford and Adams/Cherry streets
• Registration for the 5K run and walk is $40 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under. Online registration is available through In-person registration can be done at the SCHF office, 1302 Adams St.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest