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Double Decker Arts Festival returns Friday

Oxford’s Downtown Square will begin its yearly transformation late Thursday night and into the wee hours of Friday morning with the arrival of one of the town’s staple spring events.

The 24th annual Double Decker Arts Festival begins in earnest on Friday afternoon and spills over to an all day arts fair and music festival on Saturday. To prepare for the fun-filled weekend, there are a few things Oxonians and visitors to Oxford need to know to help their weekends go as smooth as possible.

Beginning at 4 a.m. on Friday, the Oxford Police Department will block off access to North Lamar Boulevard from East Jackson Avenue up to Jefferson Avenue to allow construction of the main stage. At 4 a.m. on Saturday, vehicular access to remainder of the Square will cut off with OPD blocking South Lamar Boulevard from the Lafayette County Courthouse to the University Avenue intersection. Van Buren Avenue and East Jackson Avenue will also be blocked off starting Saturday morning. Any cars left on those roads after 4 a.m. will be towed at the owner’s expense.

For the events themselves, Double Decker kicks things off with music by Lilly Hiatt at 6 p.m. followed by Thacker Mountain Radio Hour’s annual tradition of broadcasting from the main stage, starting at 7 p.m.  Guests featured on the show will be southern humor author Helen Ellis and Memphis blues guitarist Eric Gales. The show will conclude with another performance by Hiatt. The house band The Yalobushwackers will be in attendance as always.

Gales and his band will close out the first night with an hour-long set following Thacker Mountain at 8 p.m.

“We’re honored to be a part of the Double Decker Festival,” Thacker Mountain host Jim Dees said. “Friday night is a good locals night and the weather is supposed to be nice. Eric Gales is truly exceptional and not to be missed.”

Events will begin early on Saturday with the Double Decker Spring Run. The 5K and 10K races will start simultaneously at 7:30 a.m. followed by the kids fun run at 9 a.m. and the awards ceremony at 9:15 a.m. Back on the square, the art festival will open at 10 a.m. with art and food vendors remaining open until 5:30 p.m.

Shuttles to the festival will begin running at 10 a.m. at the Oxford High School and old Baptist Hospital parking garage. The shuttles will end service at 10 p.m. It costs $5 round-trip and children under 12 ride free.

Music will play all day on Saturday with the University of Mississippi Salsa Project starting at 10:15 a.m. Oxford local Kate Teague will play at 11:30 a.m. followed by Cedric Burnside (1 p.m.), Emily King (2:30 p.m.), Durand Jones and the Indications (4 p.m.), Memphis-based band Lucero at 5:30 p.m., Shovels and Rope at 7 p.m. Jason Isbell will close things out at 8:30 p.m.

The festival will conclude at 10 p.m. on Saturday.