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‘Double Decker is a snapshot of Oxford’

By Wayne Andrews

Why do communities host festivals and events?

Festivals offer a chance to showcase your community. Double Decker is unique in that it reinforces the defining qualities of L-O-U. Our community is an arts community with a year-round vibrancy that draws visitors, encourages relocation and is part of our economic mix. Double Decker is a snapshot of the visual, culinary and music of our community hosted in one of our most loved community spaces.

The scale of Double Decker often obscures that the creative energy behind the festival exists in our community year round. This 2017 Double Decker guide is to spotlight local connections, experiences and features to help you enjoy both the event and the community.

The Festival is a two-day celebration offering you plenty of time to tour your houseguests around the community and the Square.

Invite your guests to come early. Over the past few years, the Friday events have become interesting and intimate experiences. Encourage them to arrive on Thursday so you can beat the crowds and secure a reservation at a local restaurant. Show off the culinary creativity of Oxford by taking friends to Cutthroat Kitchen winner Dwayne Ingraham’s Sinfully Southern restaurant; Saint Leo, which was nominated for a James Beard award for best new restaurant, or Snackbar, featuring Chef Vishwesh Bhatt who has been a finalist multiple times (including this year) for the James Beard Best Chef award.

Coming early also provides time to make side trips to Bozart and The Living Room Gallery in Water Valley or Oxford Tree House Gallery just outside of town on County Road 418

Friday, use the time to enjoy a walk around the Square. Explore the historic buildings, unique shops and visit special places like Southside Gallery, Frame Up and Square Books.

Southside Gallery offers works by leading Southern artists while Frame Up features current works by regional artists. Square Books is one of the best browsing and shopping experiences of any bookstore with a passionate and knowledgeable staff and a balcony that offers both shade and a view.

Friday features live art demonstration by the Oxford Artist Guild next to the courthouse.  These demonstrations offer a chance to watch and learn from a professional artist while discovering the depth of talent in the community.

A short trip from the Square to Sugar Magnolia Antiques is now where the recently opened Oxford Artist Guild gallery features works by members of the 100 member professional artist organization.

Just don’t forget to head back to the Square early enough to reenergize for the live broadcast of Thacker Mountain Radio Hour.   

The weekly radio show mixes literature, music and a host with a deep and unending collection of wit wrapped in Hawaiian shirts. The show starts at 7 p.m. but you’ll want to arrive early with your lawn chair to enjoy the performance by Jimmy “Duck” Holmes. Afterward, you can rest and recuperate at High Point, which hosts locally made art and roasts their own coffee with a causal outside seating area.

You can explore Mississippi and other craft beers at The Growler, which rests at the back end of the breezeway from High Point. The craft beer lounge offers light foods and big couches.   

Save your energy for Saturday, which features live music beginning at 10:15 a.m. continuing through the day and into the night.

Highlights include performances by Luther Dickinson, Dr. John and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.

The festival offers a wide range of experiences that highlight the region’s creative spirit.   Culinary skills are showcased around the courthouse with new vendors such as Heartbreak Coffee, a pop-up coffee bistro in a converted van; Abner’s famous chicken tenders and Neon Pig’s locally sourced creations.

Double Decker’s visual artists offer an intense immersion in craft and fine arts from the region.

Pamela Locke, the creator of the 2017 Double Decker poster, is showcased in booth 72. Thomas Grosskopf’s work in booth 14 mixes skills with creative twists that draw you into his exhibits.

Booths 80 and 81 feature the Mud Daubers — students from the University of Mississippi art department — whose work is refined, rustic and creative.

Sunday’s gospel choir showcase will rejuvenate you. Hosted on the steps outside City Hall, the event wraps up a weekend of art by lifting you up in music and rejuvenating your energy.

Parking and traffic can make the experience frustrating. Oxford — being the creative community it is — has expanded the concept of a taxi to include a range of vehicles from bicycle rickshaws to electric tuks. The Flying Tuks offer a great service as they will pick you up at your home, take you to your destination and with a text pick you up again. The vehicles are fun, large enough to carry home your purchases and decrease stress as you don’t have to pay for parking or drive.

I suggest texting ahead of time as — based on demand — the Flying Tuk takes reservations.

You can learn about the Flying Tuk at www.flyingtuk.com or request a ride by texting  662-205-6312.

Wayne Andrews can be reached at yacdirector@gmail.com.