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Oxford to celebrate its 175th birthday


This year, the city of Oxford will celebrate its 175th birthday. The anniversary celebration will kick off at the beginning of the Double Decker Festival, April 27-28, and last until the July 4.

Mayor Pat Patterson, who is involved with planning events for the celebration with the directors of tourism in Oxford, said it is an honor to be mayor during this exciting time.

Some of the plans include the expansion of certain events during the Double Decker Festival, as well as a larger fireworks display than usual. There is also the possibility of a concert on July 4. 

“The biggest celebration will be in conjunction with the Double Decker Festival,” said Mary Kathryn Herrington, Oxford director of tourism and marketing. “We’ve expanded our music on Saturday hoping to reach a larger audience.”

The town has received several contributions from the University of Mississippi to help plan the celebration. Patterson said the university, Chancellor Dan Jones and executive assistant to the chancellor Andy Mullins were the first people to step up and make a contribution to the event.

“The school has grown and the town has grown, so I think our association with Ole Miss and the way that our relationship has grown and prospered is a great thing,” Patterson said.

There are plans of updating some of the historical markers around Oxford and banners have been put up around the Square to commemorate the 175th anniversary.  

“I think our history is part of what makes us a unique town,” Herrington said. “Our history certainly attracts people to visit Oxford, so from a tourism perspective, I think it is important to always remember it.”

Oxford was incorporated in May 1837 and was built on land previously owned by people of the Chickasaw Indian Nation, according to the Oxford Convention and Visitors Bureau website. Lafayette County was created in February 1836, named for Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat who fought during the Revolutionary War.

While Oxford may be most known for the events centering around the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, the town has also been the home of several prominent people, including Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner.

Tourists are also attracted to Oxford by events like the Double Decker Festival and the Oxford Film Festival, as well as articles about the town in different magazines and newspapers across the nation, including “Southern Living” and The New York Times.

“I think (the celebration) is a neat thing to do, just to kind of step back for a minute, take a breath, look at where you are and look at where you come from,” Patterson said.