By Errol Castens/Daily Journal Oxford Bureau
OXFORD – When Oxford became a town in 1837, residents hoped its name’s connection to England’s most famous university would help its petition to get the state’s first public institution of higher education located there.
The University of Mississippi opened a few blocks west of downtown in 1848.
The city will commemorate its 175th year with observances just before and during Independence Day.
On June 30, the Oxford Downtown Council will host “Happy Birthday, Oxford! Summer Fest.”
The Summer Fest event includes a sidewalk sale from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and family friendly activities throughout the day on the courthouse lawn. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., families can enjoy Mrs. Mary’s Petting Zoo, a birthday cake bounce ride, popcorn and cotton candy, face painting and a balloon artist.
Oxford-area sports, business and political celebrities have volunteered to land in the dunk tank, whose $1-per-throw fee supports the Boys amp& Girls Club. Waldo of “Where’s Waldo?” fame will make his Oxford debut at Square Books during Summer Fest to mark his own 25th anniversary, kicking off a month of visits to area businesses.
Also on June 30, Oxford Convention and Visitors Bureau will host a Double Decker bus tour with historian Jack Lamar Mayfield. The tour will include stops at the L.Q.C. Lamar House and Cedar Oaks Mansion along with en-route narration of many other Oxford sites. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children and include admission into both homes.
The city of Oxford will further commemorate its 175th as part of the annual L-O-U (Lafayette-Oxford-University) 4th of July festivities. They begin Monday, July 2, with a nondenominational worship service at Paris-Yates Chapel. A street dance on the Square will follow Tuesday, July 3, from 6 to 9 p.m.
“We’ve been doing little things all along to mark our 175th anniversary year,” said Oxford Mayor George “Pat” Patterson.