Double Decker – Big time fun for everyone

Published 2:01 am Sunday, April 30, 2017

Rides are given on a double decker bus, at the Double Decker Arts Festival in Oxford, Miss. on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

Read more about Saturday’s Double Decker nightlife in Monday’s Oxford EAGLE

Under a large oak tree on the south side of the Lafayette County Courthouse Saturday morning, Oxford resident David “Bodie” Bodenheimer beat the crowds found the perfect spot to set up chairs for him, his family and friends to enjoy the Double Decker Arts Festival.

“I got here about 8:45 a.m.,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for 20 years. This is a great spot. The ladies can shop and us men can eat and people watch.”

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The festival kicked off with the annual Double Decker Spring Run where more than 1,500 participants ran in a 5K, 10K and Kid’s Fun Run under partly sunny skies and hefty breezes.

Daniel Caddigan, 23, of Columbus won first place for the overall best time in the 10K race, finishing in 35:40 minutes. Meggan Franks, 33, of Starkville took the first place award for females in the 10K race with a time of 38:27. A complete list of winners can be found at

“We were so thrilled to have such a great turnout for the races,” said race chairwoman Pam Swain, with the Oxford & Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce. “The weather was perfect and our runners we’re ready to run.”

Swain said the new course this year — due to construction on the University of Mississippi campus — was a challenge for some of the runners.

“Our local community always shows such wonderful support by cheering one another on and supporting the race,” she said. “It’s great to see families come together to run and start their Double Decker weekend off in such a fun, healthy way.”

On the Square, crowds began to form just minutes after the technical start time of 10 a.m. Before some vendors were completely set up, hundreds were already shopping and enjoying food from local restaurants.

Amelia Eisenhauer and the Peruvian Farm Girls play the Double Decker Arts Festival in Oxford, Miss. on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

Donald Golden works his booth of photos at the Double Decker Arts Festival in Oxford, Miss. on Saturday, April 29, 2017. Golden’s work focuses on buildings in decay.

Those arriving early were treated to the sounds of The Mississippians Jazz Ensemble, which set a festive start to the day. Other musical acts throughout the day include Amelia Eisenhauer and the Peruvian Farm Girls, Robert Finley, Seratones and James McMurtry. The evening musical lineup included Luther Dickinson, Dr. John & The Nite Trippers and headliner Nathaniel Rateliff & Night Sweats.

First-time festival vendor Gretchen Williams and her freshly brewed coffee helped wake up select festival goers. Williams, owner of Heartbreak Coffee, sells coffee out of her vintage Volkswagen van where she serves up freshly brewed hot and cold coffee and also sells bags of specialty coffee beans that she roasts herself.

“I started in Long Beach (California) three and a half years ago and then moved back to Oxford in September,” she said. “We are at the (Oxford Community) Farmer’s Market every Tuesday and hope to be doing more events like this.”

August Fields walks her dog Daisy Dickey during the Best Dressed Pet Contest at the Double Decker Arts Festival in Oxford, Miss. on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

While most people at the festival dressed casually, some special guests were dressed to the nines for the annual Best Dressed Pet Contest, a fundraiser for the Oxford-Lafayette County Humane Society.

Twelve dogs competed for a variety of awards, from Most Congenial to Best Performance to Best Dressed Overall, which went to a Jack Russell terrier, Skip, owned by Blair and Winn McElroy.

Skip lost an eye to glaucoma after the McElroy’s adopted him from the shelter. He was dressed as Rooster Cogburn, the one-eyed, whiskey lover from the novel “True Grit.” complete with a small bottle of whiskey tied to his jacket.

“Last year he was a pirate,” Blair McElroy. “I tried to think of a famous character who had one eye and thought of Rooster.”

Skip took home a huge basket of treats and goodies, donated by Cotton’s Cafe dog treats.

While a few clouds drifted over the downtown Square from time to time, Mother Nature kept the rain away, allowing for a strong turnout for Oxford’s biggest community event.

Lafayette County High School art teacher Thomas Grosskopf was one of more than 125 art vendors at the festival selling his paintings that range from scenes of downtown Oxford to Star Wars portraits to William Faulkner as a superhero.

“Double Decker is a great venue for artists, especially local artists,” he said. “It gives you a chance to show your art to people who may not normally visit art galleries. The feedback has been great so far.”

Double Decker Arts Festival wouldn’t be what it is without Oxford’s iconic double decker buses that hauled festival goers throughout the day around Oxford.

Marcus Cardian rode the double decker bus for the first time since moving to Oxford last summer.

“I’ve wanted to do it for months and I’m glad I got the chance today,” he said after stepping off the bus. “It was a great ride. You really see Oxford for what it is on that bus. It just all comes together.”