By Steven Hoffman
An international block party is taking place in Oxford on Friday, Aug. 2 as part of the town’s monthly First Friday activities.
“We’re focusing on different cultures in the Oxford community with the activities that we have planned,” explained Melissa Pacella, the office manager of Oxford Mainstreet, Inc., which oversees planning for the First Friday events and other activities in town. “We have a great lineup of music and activities. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
A portion of Broad Street will be closed off for a summer concert performance by the Thunder Hill Blue Grass Band. This is the first time that the local band has performed at a First Friday event.
“I think they will be a good addition to the event,” said Pacella, adding that State Rep. John Lawrence will be serving free ice cream.
The Golden Light Wellness Center is bringing in a belly dance troupe from 7 to 7:30 p.m., adding a Middle Eastern flair to the event. The YMCA is bringing out its Activan to promote an active lifestyle, and a Zumba demonstration will also take place.
“There are a lot of opportunities for people to learn about different activities,” Pacella explained.
The Oxford Area School District is arranging to have people read children’s books in different languages as a way of showcasing diversity.
The Outback Company Store will be featuring the artwork of Eileen Cripps, an exhibiting artist from England. Shoppers will also enjoy live music in the store while they browse in-store sales.
The Oxford Arts Alliance Gallery will be debuting a wildlife art exhibit that will be on display throughout the month of August. Patrons can also receive a 20 percent discount on membership to the Arts Alliance.
Food is always an important part of the First Friday events. La Sicilia is getting into the spirit of the international block party by offering traditional Sicilian cuisine specials. Muse will have an international three-course menu for the evening. Two food trucks, the Italian Scallion and one from El Mundialitos, will be selling food and snacks. Several of the regular vendors from the Oxford Village Market will be setting up booths to sell locally grown produce.
Businesses throughout the downtown district will be offering specials during the event, which runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Ediene’s Fine Jewelry & Gifts will be offering a free ring-cleaning and a prong check to customers. J & K Slightly Touched Antiques & Furniture is hosting the Yamesu Healing Haven and Avon.
Free face-painting will be offered at Oxford Odds & Ends. The Oxford Shipping Post & Trade is offering a 20 percent discount on cigars.
Bright Beginnings and R N J Plaques & Engraving are collaborating so that youngsters can craft a door hanger that their names will be engraved on.
Vendors will also be offering their wares. A Native American energy working will be selling art from Mother Earth for self-healing. Paparazzi Accessories will be selling fun, affordable gifts for women and girls, including headbands and jewelry. Everything is $5.50 or less. Milan 4ever is selling boutique-style children’s clothing.
Pacella said that the diversity of the offerings, as well as the summer weather, should make this First Friday event one of the best of the year.
“It’s definitely a perfect night to come out and enjoy what Oxford has to offer,” Pacella said.