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Proud to Be an American: How the LOU Community is Celebrating Independence Day

The Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Family Crisis Services are coming together once again, along with presenting sponsor Olin-Winchester, to host the LOU Fourth of July Community Celebration.

This year, the celebration will begin on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. with a non-denominational worship service at Paris-Yates Chapel.

On Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m., there will be a Street Dance on the Square, featuring music by Soule. The Street Dance will occur on the stage between City Hall and Square Books Junior. The parking lot in front of Neilson’s will be blocked off, and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to sit and enjoy the show.

Adding new events to the lineup is one of the most fun parts of the job, according to Meredith Rawl, Fourth of July Community Celebration Chair with Family Crisis Services.

“My favorite thing about coordinating this event over the years is the combining of the old traditions and new ones,” Rawl said in a recent news release. “When people come to me and talk about when it used to be at Avent Park, I always ask for specifics about activities that took place. One such suggestion a few years back was ‘Steve, the Balloon Guy,’ who has been with us now in the Grove for the past 4 years.”

The next morning, on the Fourth of July holiday, the all-day fun lineup begins on the historic Oxford Square at 7:30 a.m. with the Freedom 5K and Family Fun Run, benefiting Mississippi Critterz.

After the run, the lineup for the Children’s Parade on the Square takes place at 9 a.m. behind City Hall and the parade begins at 9:30 a.m. This year’s parade is sponsored by Josh Hawkins, a candidate for MS House of Representatives District 10.

That afternoon, the celebration continues in The Grove at the University of Mississippi starting at 4 p.m. Grove activities will consist of live music and food vendors. Children’s activities will feature an elaborate petting zoo, train rides, bounce houses, face painting, balloon art, games, and more. The children’s activities are free for kids and kids at heart to enjoy. Food vendors will also be on site to offer refreshments.

From 4 to 4:50 p.m., the LOU Community Band will take over the Grove stage and offer harmonious music for all to enjoy. At 5:20 p.m., activities continue with the Lil’ Mr. and Miss Firecracker Pageant for boys and girls ages 0-7.

At 6 p.m. the Independence Day Ceremony will begin in the Grove as we take a moment to reflect, honor, and respect our local service men and women. There will be a patriotic musical salute and music will continue following the ceremony until 8:15 p.m., featuring the Alanna Mosley Band on stage.

At 9 p.m., all eyes will be on the sky for a fireworks presentation ending a full day of celebration. The fireworks extravaganza, presented by Olin Winchester, offers viewers stadium seating in Swayze Field for a donation of $2 each. Guests will be able to enjoy the comfort of stadium seating surrounded by their friends and neighbors with vibrant patriotic tunes synchronized perfectly with the beautiful blasts. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. Refreshments will be available, but no coolers are permitted in the stadium.

While the community Independence Day celebration has grown significantly from years past, Rawl said she hopes Oxonians and visitors alike can still enjoy all the comforts of a small-town get-together.

“Obviously the event grew too large to continue taking place at Avent Park, with so many houses nearby, making it unsafe for pyrotechnics,” Rawl said in the release. “I hope people can still feel they have the opportunity to take a blanket and lay out in the parking lot behind Old Taylor Road, or make a small donation to sit inside the Baseball Stadium for the experience. The donations go into next year’s productions, events, etc.”

The committee is still seeking sponsorships for some of the events. Rawls said it could be something as simple as sponsoring a bounce house, the street dance, or even the petting zoo. For more details contact info@oxfordadvocacy.org

Volunteers are needed to help with all the various activities. If you’d like to volunteer, contact info@oxfordadvocacy.org. Visit www.lou4thofjuly.com for more information on the LOU Fourth of July Community Celebration.