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Fringe Festival has some unique events

The 3rd annual Art-er Limit Fringe Festival begins today and runs through the weekend. The Fringe Festival brings in more than 50 art experiences to various venues in Oxford, and will include four major headlining acts.

Two of those major headliners are the Iron Bartender Contest, back for a second year, and The Secret Show, and event that is top secret until Friday.

Oxford’s best bartender

One talented bartender will be crowned this year’s “Iron Bartender” at the second annual Iron Bartender Contest, taking place at the Powerhouse tonight from 6-8 p.m. Tickets to the event are $10 or are included in the all access pass as part of the Fringe Festival.

Think Iron Chef but for bartenders. Contestants are provided a basic set of mixers and spirits but the contestant is allowed to bring their secret ingredient. Each bartender ​will have only 30 minutes to create a new, specialty cocktail with the ingredients provided. ​Attendees taste cocktails and vote for their favorite, crowning the top bartender for the year. This year eight bartenders have signed up to compete with one traveling from Tupelo to try and take home the crown.

“Oxford is a foodie community and it mixes well with our arts and cultural dynamic,” said Wayne Andrews of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council who organized the event. “We hoped that this fun, playful event would help the public see the creative side to cocktails and how that is similar to the creative process for other artists.”

The event is sponsored by Cathead Vodka and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits as the contest offers a chance for cocktail fans to explore new products, favours and potentially discovering their new favorite cocktail.

“We hope the event offers a chance to expand one’s palate and allow the skilled bartender of our community to develop a following. A great cocktail has balance, subtlety, and depth.  The contest is about playing with those ideas.” Andrews said.

Top secret show

The Secret Show will be revealed Friday morning to those with tickets.

“The Secret Show is about breaking down the barrier between the artist and the audience,” Andrews said. “This one night only event will mix art, food, music and libations all with the chance for guests to be part of several live creative processes.”

The previous incarnations of the Secret Show featured a blind art auction with guests winning a work of art by offering the most creative non-monetary bid, designing unique paper airplanes to win tickets to Florida, and puppet doormen. Each year the committee invites local artist to join the secret society that creates the event. This year the show will focus on the film, television and the performing arts guaranteeing that everyone will be part of the show.

Admission to the Iron Bartender Contest and The Secret Show is $10 for each event or a $45 All Inclusive Pass, which provides admission to over 50 events during the weekend. Proceeds from The Secret Show benefit the United Way of Oxford & Lafayette County.

For more information about the Art-er Limits Fringe Festival, visit ​www.oxfordfringefest.com​.