By Steven Hoffman
Downtown Oxford will be the scene of a multicultural celebration on Friday, May 2, as Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. (OMI) has organized a host of attractions and activities for Cinco de Mayo.
“This is our second year of celebrating Cinco de Mayo,” explained Melissa Pacella, the special events coordinator for OMI.
Pacella said that one of the highlights of the evening will be the dance and music performance by Brujo De La Mancha, a Mexican native who works to preserve the Aztec culture. There will be an interactive presentation and slideshow titled “Mexican Identity in the 21st Century” at the Oxford Public Library from noon to 1 p.m. Topics will include a look at Mexican history, as well as a conversation about art, medicine, politics, and music. Then, during the First Friday hours between 5 and 8 p.m., there will be two Aztec flute, dance, and drum performances.
“The performance will be good for all ages,” said Pacella.
There will also be two performances by Avondale-based Danza Tenochtli, one at 6:30 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m. This is the first time that Danza Tenochtli is performing at an Oxford event.
Pacella said that between De La Mancha and Tenochtili, “there will be a lot of engaging, colorful performances for people to enjoy.”
There will also be live music at Flickerwood Wine Cellar and Twisted Treats.
Pacella said that Oxford Family Eyecare is organizing a sunglasses trunk show. Hawaiian drinks and snacks will be served.
Pacella said that Oxford Odds & Ends has once again come up with a clever way to participate in the First Friday, arranging to have a pony at the store so that children can have their pictures taken with it.
There will be plenty of children’s activities, including kids’ crafts at Bright Beginnings, where kids will make their own marachas.
Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. will be offering a chance to win a $50 downtown Oxford gift certificate as well.
Pacella said that with so many businesses now lining up special attractions for First Fridays, she expects the events to continue to grow in size and popularity.
“More businesses are getting involved with First Fridays,” she said. “There are a lot of great specials and sales. We’re thrilled to see the businesses working together. We’ve been working hard to grow the First Fridays and it’s good to see some of these things come to fruition.”
As First Fridays develop into mature events, Oxford is also launching a new promotion, 3rd on Third, on Friday, May 16. Patterned after the First Friday events, 3rd on Third—which gets its name from Third Street in Oxford’s commercial district—showcases music and art. The hours for 3rd on Third are 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The inaugural event showcases the Octoraro Tavern as well as a local art show and sale. Businesses will have expanded hours and local artists and musicians will be stationed in shops throughout the downtown. For more information, visit www.downtownoxfordpa.org.
With the arrival of May, the popular Downtown Oxford Village Market returns. The market is open every Tuesday from noon to 6 p.m. now through October.
“it’s another sign that spring is here,” explained Pacella. She added that between 10 and 15 vendors turn out each week, offering a wide variety of locally grown produce, dairy, baked goods, including gluten-free and dairy-free products, cut flowers, bedding plants, and more.
“We’re welcoming back a lot of our Amish farmers,” Pacella said. “It is definitely a weekly ritual for many families.”
Adding to the family-friendly atmosphere this year will be a children’s reading time each week that will include story times, crafts, and other activities.
A new arrival this year is Ballyboe Farms, which offers grass-fed Angus beef. The village market has been without a vendor selling meat for some time, so this addition is particularly welcome.
“Ultimately,” said Pacella, “we want to be like an outdoor grocery store."
On Friday, May 16, the 2014 Business Seminar Series continues with a presentation titled “Social Media and Networking: What is the Return on Investment?”
Presented by Donna Hong, the session will focus on what the realistic expectations should be for a return on investment of various social media platforms.
“It’s a great networking opportunity for local business owners and you always learn something new,” said Melissa Pacella, Oxford Mainstreet, Inc.’s special events coordinator.
The seminar takes place from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the Oxford Arts Alliance Gallery.
The seminar series is a partnership between Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. and the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Fulton Bank.
To register, contact Eleanor Roper at firstname.lastname@example.org.