OXFORD — A group of local business owners banded together to kick off the Christmas season with “Light Up Oxford,” an evening of yuletide festivities for the entire family in downtown Oxford on Friday, Dec. 3.
“We’ll have the streets blocked off here in downtown, all of the businesses will be open that night (along with other vendors, totalling 30 as of Wednesday, Nov. 3), our 4-H club and the Oxford Little League will be selling (the makings for) S’mores…we’ll have fire pits in the street, the Legion (American Legion Post 537) is having bingo, the Fire Department will be serving food (grilled by the Iowa Beef Producers), and we’ll have The Traveling Tapster (a little RV serving adult beverages), too,” said Bethany Horning, owner of Augusta Hall, a new event center located at 129 N. Augusta in the original location for the Legion. Vendors will set up in Augusta Hall, Horning added.
Kris Scheetz, Director of the Oxford Farmer-Vendor Market (April through Sept.) said in 2019, they were invited to the first Light Up Oxford event.
“And it’s just been growing,” Scheetz proclaimed. “Two years ago, we had the Legion full, on both sides. And this year we’re going to have it full on one side, but we’re going across the street to St. Mary’s Hall because we have so many. We have this tremendous assortment of different, talented people that are making homemade things and bringing them in.”
Light Up Oxford was born from a desire for a community-wide event, such as Solon’s Beef Days or Swisher’s Fun Days.
“Oxford doesn’t have anything,” said Therese’ Schebler, owner of Bootleggers Vintage Market (vintage and unique items), in Oxford.
“Personally, I’d also like to see us do some type of summer event,” she said. “But it’s kind of where we were leaning.”
Kimberly Carolan, owner of Luxe Boutique in Oxford (and other locations) was also a big driver in promoting and doing something for the Christmas spirit for the city of Oxford, added Karey Rieniets, owner of The Annex and Tweaked Too, a pair of antiques, collectibles and gift stores in downtown Oxford.
“Two years ago, we had a beautiful night,” Schebler recalled. “It was chilly, but it was beautiful. They had a stereo system out on the balcony of the Tweaked building, so we had Christmas music playing all through downtown, all the stores and businesses had Christmas lights… it was beautiful. People said it was like a Hallmark movie.”
The event starts at 4 p.m. with a tree lighting ceremony scheduled for 6 p.m. at City Hall with Santa and Mrs. Claus in attendance. Lewis Brothers Tree Farm donated a tree (and labor), planted on the north side of Oxford’s City Hall and Fire Station and City employees will place permanent electrical outlets. In about 20 years when it has matured, the tree should be at least 30’ tall and 20’ wide.
Elves (volunteers) will be out and about guiding and assisting visitors and answering any questions.
For the latest information, visit the event’s Facebook page, Light up Oxford, at www.facebook.com/events/987383412045475.