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It’s 2021 and activities are slowly returning to Oxford

Let us all agree that last year now officially means 2019, as 2020 was the same day repeated over and over.  All our experiences and memories of “last year” are of the year prior.  Having a gap year means many of the new experiences we had in 2019 are a little hazy.  The effort to revive events and programs is like starting with a fresh slate.  The ideas sound familiar, but is that COVID brain?

Here is a short refresher of events coming up to help you get reacquainted.

Linen on the Lawn.  Launched as a community picnic to kick off the week long Juneteenth Celebration in 2019 returns with live music on Saturday, June 12 at the Old Armory Pavilion.  This free event features live music from the Blue Silk Band that will have people dancing.  You can reserve a table for eight or spread out your own blanket.  Bring a picnic or Party Waiting to Happen is hosting party platters with blackened catfish po’boy’s and other treats that will be delivered to the Old Armory.  They will also be selling individual sandwiches while supplies last and be hosting a cash bar.  See the full schedule of events for June 12-19th  at oxfordjuneteenth.org

Oxford Pride will return with a festival, from 4  to 8 p.m. in the Grove on Saturday, June 12th. The event will feature local musicians and end the evening with a drag performance for the ages: Drag Under the Stars. In between, a Lip Sync Battle will invite university and community members to join in the fun.  Local restaurants will host pop up food court. See the full schedule at oxfordmspride.rocks

Sunset Series – every Sunday in June at 6 p.m. This popular summer event returns to The Grove every Sunday in June with free live music covering a full range of styles.  A true Oxford experience as the Arts Council, Chamber, University departments including University Museum, Southern Studies, Ford Center to Student Activities Council, and Visit Oxford all collaborate to host this popular event.  Pack a picnic, spread a blanket, invite friends to this free summer concert series.  This season features Super Chikan, Black Water Trio, and a live production of Thacker Mountain Radio.

Juneteenth culminates on Saturday, June 19th from 4 to 9 p.m. in the parking lot of Oxford Elementary School. This community celebration started by the families in and around Martin Luther King Jr Drive was structured as a traditional street party.  The organizers wanted to invite the community to their neighborhood and highlight the businesses, talents, and sense of community found in the African American community of Oxford. Everyone is invited to enjoy a day of music, arts, vendors, street food and community.

Oxford Comedy is hosting open mic nights at the Old Armory Pavilion Wednesday nights at 7 p.m.  Come hear local stand-up comics testing new material or test out your funny bone.  The event is free and open to the public.  Bring a folding chair, gather some friends, come and support local creatives.

Quasar, a literary collective, hosts monthly showcases at the Old Armory Pavilion the last Sunday of the month at 6pm.  The free showcases spot-lights local poets, writers, artists and musicians through mini performances, readings and pop up art exhibits.

Ham Radio Field Day is an international event.  The local radio club will be hosting a free community event at the Old Armory Pavilion on Saturday, June 26 that will invite community members to operating ham radios and make contact with radio enthusiast from around the world.

Live Theatre has slowly been reopening over the summer with Theatre Oxford hosting performances.  June features a partnership between Theatre Oxford, The Arts Council and former Oxonian Tre Floyd who is bringing a tour of his new play Before Black Lives Matter to the Powerhouse Community Arts Center on Saturday, June 26th with performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.  Tickets are on sale at www.oxfordarts.com

Good Night Market has returned following a two-year hiatus.  The market created as a project of Leadership Lafayette sought to provide local small businesses, artists, cottage food makers, and food trucks with an opportunity to have a monthly “brick and mortar” location.  This evening event offers families a chance to grab dinner from a pop up restaurant, hear live music, play games in the green space and explore booths hosted by local small businesses. The event is free and is hosted the first Friday of the month from 6 to 8 p.m. New vendors, entrepreneurs, and artists are invited to reserve a booth through the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council at www.oxfordarts.com

This weekly column is written by members and leadership of the Yoknapatawpha Arts