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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Annual Stella Shouting Contest draws crowds in Columbus

Nathan Streeter
Winner poses with an actress portraying Stella, the character the participants yell for.

The Tennessee Williams Tribute and Columbus Arts Council held their annual Stella Shouting Contest and Spring Night Market this past Saturday. The festival ran from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., with the shouting contest beginning at 5 p.m.

The festival is a tribute to famous Mississippi playwright and author Tennessee Williams, who wrote many notable works such as “The Glass Menagerie,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “The Night of the Iguana” and the play which this contest is held in honor of, “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

In “A Streetcar Named Desire,” one of the main characters, Stanley, screams at the bottom of a balcony for his wife Stella to come down. The Stella Shouting Contest is a fun play on this famous scene.

Participant yells “Stella,” a reference to “A Streetcar Named Desire.” (Nathan Streeter)

At Liberty Plaza on College Street in downtown Columbus, enchanting piano music rose from the center of the plaza as people gathered around in groups, mingling among friends and strangers alike.

The festival offered live music, free drinks, a chalk art competition for kids and a booth selling books, tote bags and stickers.

Salem Gibson, the executive director of the Columbus Arts Council, said that the Tennessee Williams Tribute has held the Stella Shouting Contest for over 20 years, but this is only the second year that the Columbus Arts Council has partnered with the Tennessee Williams Tribute.

“This is always a quirky and fun event for our community to attend and it’s a great way to honor Tennessee Williams,” Gibson said. “It’s a silly wholesome experience that allows everyone to let their guard down.”

Marthalie Porter, treasurer of the Tennessee Williams Tribute and one of the judges of the shouting contest, explained that this competition is one of few shouting contests in the country, with the others being held in New Orleans, where the play is set.

“You have to be very dramatic and shout Stella three times,” Porter said, explaining the parameters of the contest.

Despite the large turnout of about 100 people, the festival maintained a friendly and intimate atmosphere. The audience was a mix of people, young and old alike, who gathered in anticipation of the event.

Dylan Plaisance from Union, Mississippi, spoke about his experience at the festival.

“It’s really cool to see so many people gathered about so casually. Everyone is friendly and ready to talk, and everything just feels really laidback, and the Stella beer is always a bonus,” Plaisance said.

The contest has two categories for children and adults to compete, allowing five competitors in the children’s category and fifteen in the adults’ category. The contest gives out first, second and third place prizes to the three children and three adults who shout “Stella” the best.

“I thought they all did excellent. I didn’t know someone could yell that loud. I think the entire downtown area could hear them, but hey, that’s what they were supposed to do. I’m very impressed,” Plaisance said.

About the Contributor
Elena Harman
Elena Harman, Staff Writer
Elena Harman is a junior secondary education major. Elena is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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  • M

    Marilyn MooreApr 10, 2024 at 2:05 pm

    Stella looked the part for sure ! Love that Molly Kate ! Congrats to the winner !!!