By Errol Castens
OXFORD – The 19th annual Oxford Double Decker Arts Festival will feature more than 150 artists and craftsmen, children’s activities, a “Taste of Oxford” food court and some 15 hours of live music on the Courthouse Square.
“The festival is truly a celebration of food, art and music – three things that embody what Oxford is all about,” said Mary Allyn Hedges, VisitOxford director. The festival takes its name from the city’s twin-level, open-top, English tour buses.
Presented by C Spire, the festival will begin Friday, April 25, with one performance by Rosco Bandana and another by the Bo-Keys. Between those concerts, the two acts will present a Double Decker edition of “Thacker Mountain Radio.”
“Last year was the first time Thacker and Double Decker got together,” producer Kathryn McGaw said. “We got great community support.”
Headliners on Saturday, April 26, will be New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band and funk/soul/R&B singer Charles Bradley, subject of the documentary “Soul of America.”
Juried art wares from paintings and pottery to jewelry and yard art will dominate the Square from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 26. Festivalgoers will also enjoy culinary offerings from some two dozen Oxford restaurants.
The Children’s Square Fair will be organized by the University of Mississippi Nutrition and Hospitality Management department.
“We’re going with a ‘country carnival’ theme,” said Jeremy Roberts, department marketing coordinator. Among activities planned are a bounce house, face-painting and games, capped by the Best Dressed Pet Contest.
Another crowd-pleaser will be the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Double Decker Run. Starting at 8 a.m. that Saturday morning, it will offer 5k and 10k versions.
“We like to think we add a fourth element – a health element – to the festival,” said Chamber Vice President Pam Swain. A partnership with Start2Finish boosted last year’s entrants to nearly 1,200 runners from 21 states, with a target for this year of 1,400 or more.
For more information, visit www.doubledeckerfestival.com.