By Steven Hoffman
Oxford’s First Friday event on July 5 included a variety of activities that celebrated summer. The weather cooperated, providing a warm, sunny backdrop for the festivities.
Stores like the Outback Trading Company offered specials related to the summer or the Fourth of July holiday. The First Friday events have been drawing an increasing number of vendors like Kelly Sheep, who is an independent consultant for Paparazzi Accessories. The Rising Sun, Md. resident said that she likes to set up a booth during these events to introduce new customers to the products.
“It’s really nice,” she said. “I appreciate that there’s a lot of activities for children, too.”
Paparazzi Accessories sells a variety of accessories for women and girls, including headbands, pins, and jewelry. Everything is available for $5.50 or less. When Sheep doesn’t have a booth set up for the First Friday event, the merchandise can be purchased at www.facebook.com/paparazzimomma.
The monthly First Friday event has become a good way for non-profit organizations to reach out to the community when they have a special event planned. Tenille Dewees, the back-to-school fair coordinator, had a table set up promoting the Nottingham Presbyterian Church’s Back to School Fair.
Dewees said that the event has attracted more and more children each year, with 800 attendees in 2012, including 500 children who received free backpacks filled with grade-specific supplies. This year, the church wants to donate 600 backpacks to children at the Aug. 24 event that will be held at the Penn’s Grove School.
“We’re reaching the people who need our help,” Dewees said. “I like being a part of this. My kids learn about giving back to the community.”
The fair will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will include a consignment sale. It will also be a good opportunity to connect families to social services that are available. Representatives from agencies like CCIS, CHIP, and WIC will have booths set up. According to Dewees, these representatives have said that they make five times the number of viable contacts than they typically make at events like this. There will also be representatives from childcare centers and after-school programs, too.
Dewees said that the Nottingham Presbyterian Church, which has approximately 100 members, is pleased by the success of the event because it is a way to help others. More information about how to help is available at email@example.com.
“The church doesn’t profit in any way. Everything goes back to the community,” DeWees said. She added that people can help the effort by donating money or school supplies. It is an opportunity for businesses to donate supplies with the company logo—these supplies could be a daily reminder of the company’s generosity.
Several vendors were set up at J & K Slightly Touched Antiques and Furniture, including Kevin, an 11-year-old who was doing paintings based on aura readings.
Jerome Rodio, the owner of the store, said that last month a family with five children came in and the mother said that Kevin’s aura readings matched each one perfectly. In addition to his ability to do aura readings, Kevin has also produced a book of poetry.
Oxford's next First Friday event is August 2, and the theme will be a multicultural block party. R N J Plaques and Engraving and Bright Beginnings will feature crafts for children. Golden Light Wellness Center will present belly dancers and a taste of Middle Eastern food. State Rep. John Lawrence will be hosting an ice cream social. Numerous venues throughout Oxford will be exhibiting local art as well. For more information, visit www.downtownoxfordpa.org.