By Steven Hoffman

Staff Writer

When heavy rains dampened the December First Friday celebration in Oxford, one consequence was that several activities that had been planned for that evening were rescheduled for the February event which will take place this Friday, Feb. 7.

“We have a really great lineup of activities for the February First Friday,” explained Sue Cole, the executive director of Oxford Mainstreet, Inc.

Many of the events have a Valentine’s Day theme. There will be carriage rides, live music, and a kissing booth.

Feb. 7 also marks the official grand-opening of Millstone Jewelers. Owner Alesia Mills worked as the goldsmith at Ediene’s Jewelry for more than two decades before taking over the shop when Ediene Ringler retired last November. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., a company will be constructing an ice sculpture that many people will enjoy seeing.

Cole said that for people who are using this First Friday as a date night, there will be carriage rides. Brittany Buitron Photography, at 37 South Third Street, will also have a kissing booth set up. Couples will be able to buy photographs of themselves for $5.

Downtown Pasta, Oxford’s newest restaurant, is going to have a violinist, while Flickerwood Wine Cellars is bringing in the band Night Watch for an evening of music.

Cole said that one of her favorite activities for this First Friday is the Valentine’s Day-themed scavenger hunt that is being organized for adults. Numerous businesses in town are offering items in Valentine’s Day-themed gift basket that will be raffled off. Oxford Odds & Ends has contributed Neuchatel Chocolates for the basket while Millstone Jewelers is offering a dozen roses. There’s a gift card for dinner for two at La Sicilia Restaurant. The gift basket includes a gift certificate for a free manicure at Texture Salon and Spa, a bottle of wine from Flickerwood Wine Cellars, and wine gift box courtesy of RNJ Plaques and Engraving. Pickled Pickles Boutique has donated two painted and engraved wine glasses. For more details and to enter the drawing for all of these items, visit any of the sponsoring businesses.

“There are a lot of nice gifts,” Cole said of the basket.

The Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. executive director talked about the growing popularity of the First Friday events.

“What we’re finding is that even though the weather is tricky and has not always been on our side, there are more people who are talking about First Friday.”

She added that more business owners are finding creative ways to incorporate the First Friday themes into their plans to attract more visitors.

The First Friday event is just the beginning of the Valentine’s Day celebration in Oxford. Flickerwood Wine Cellars is planning a wine and dessert pairing for Saturday, Feb. 15 and Sunday, Feb. 16, and several businesses in town are working collaboratively on a bridal event on Feb. 16.