Lifelong Oxford resident Hoyt Oliver dressed up as Uncle Sam during last year’s July 4th celebrations. The city has an even bigger list of events scheduled for this year’s Independence Day as it also celebrates its 175th anniversary. The historical festivities will begin with the annual July 3rd picnic at Old Church. (Special photo)
OXFORD — In honor of its 175th anniversary, the city of Oxford plans to host a variety of events in addition to the annual July 4th celebration.
Mayor Jerry Roseberry created a steering committee that is working on the anniversary events, as well as a special book of 175 honorees from Oxford who have made an impact. The steering committee is also coordinating with Vice President of the Oxford Historical Society Lisa Dorward on a photo contest that’s underway for a calendar.
The calendar as well as a storybook compiled from stories submitted by residents are just a couple of the activities the city encourages locals to get involved with. Other festivities for the 175th anniversary will kick off with the traditional Fourth of July parade and festival.
The parade started more than 30 years ago and continues to attract visitors to the city. Lifelong Oxford resident Hoyt Oliver was one of the founders of the parade and said the idea came about because it would be a great way to celebrate the bicentennial of the United States.
“In the first couple of years, participants mostly came from the Oxford community, but as the parade grew into a county-wide event, we had fire trucks and law enforcement vehicles from the county and other municipalities, U.S. Forestry Service trucks and equipment, VFW and American Legion floats, assorted private schools, dance troupes and others,” Oliver said.
As part of the 175th birthday celebration, the float that is judged to best commemorate the combined patriotic spirit of the nation’s Fourth of July and the 175th birthday of Oxford will receive a first place ribbon and a $300 cash prize.
First place category ribbons and a $25 cash prize will go to the winner in each of the following categories: Best Bicycle, Best Car, Best Truck, Best Antique Tractor, Best Lawnmower, Best Go-Cart, Best Four-Wheeler and Best Equine.
Following the parade, the city’s festival will begin at Old Church.
“As part of Oxford’s 175th birthday celebration, this year’s festival will be bigger and better than ever,” Roseberry said. “All the long-held traditions of the post-parade festival, such as the Rev. Ralph Hawkins Honorary Horseshoe Tournament, free popcorn and watermelon provided by the Oxford Lion’s Club, will still be part of the festivities. However, the number and variety of activities and exhibits sponsored by local companies, groups, and organizations will be expanded.”
If residents would like to start the celebration early, the annual July 3 picnic will be held at 6 p.m. at Old Church. The Oxford Historical Shrine Society and the Oxford Lion’s Club have co-sponsored a pot-luck picnic every year and encourage residents to bring a favorite dish to share with their neighbors.
Plates, napkins, utensils and drinks are provided by the Oxford Historical Shrine Society and the Oxford Lion’s Club serves up its traditional homemade ice cream. The picnic is open to all and no advance reservation is required.
Businesses and organizations wishing to exhibit at the festival can reserve a space by contacting City Clerk Lauran Willis at 770-786-7400. Advance registration for the parade is encouraged, although registration on the day of the event will also be available. Interested parties can download a registration form and parade map from the city’s website at www.oxfordgeorgia.org.
Those who are interested in contribute stories of the city’s history can make submissions at the city’s website or mail them to Louise Eady in care of Oxford City Hall, 110 W. Clark St., Oxford, GA 30054.
For more information on any of the Oxford 175th anniversary events, contact Oxford City Hall at 770-786-7400.