New Oxford-area tourism events proposed

BY ERROL CASTENS

Daily Journal

OXFORD – If promoters have their way, Oxford and Lafayette County could add three more events to their tourism calendars.

Promoters asked Oxford aldermen on Tuesday night to support a cemetery tour this fall, an international folk festival next August and a barbecue competition in September 2007

Hugh Stump, executive director of the Oxford Tourism Council, asked for support for the yet-to-be-named barbecue festival at the Oxford Conference Center.

“What we'd like to do is create another event somewhat in the flavor of Double Decker,” Stump said, referring to Oxford's April arts festival. The barbecue festival is planned for Sept. 22-23, 2007.

Winners of the professional barbecue competition will have an automatic berth in the Memphis in May International Barbecue Competition the next spring, and half of any profits from the Oxford festival will go to the Lafayette County United Way.

Aldermen approved $10,000 seed money from the city's tourism tax fund for the event, to be repaid from festival proceeds.

Board members also approved a Nov. 2-3, 2006, event offering tour of St. Peter's Cemetery, whose prominent residents include William Faulkner and L.Q.C. Lamar. The tours are intended as a fundraiser for Cedar Oaks, a historic Oxford home.

Kathy Kemp asked the Board of Aldermen to consider an endorsement for the proposed Yocona International Folk Festival. It would be scheduled for Aug. 1-7, 2007.

Kemp estimated costs for the week-long festival at more than $200,000, but asked aldermen only for a letter of endorsement.

Alderman Janice Antonow asked Kemp and other folk festival promoters to create a more detailed proposal.

Errol Castens is the Daily Journal's Oxford reporter. Contact him at 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com