When it comes to quality of life, residents enjoy the whole package
There’s always something to celebrate in Oxford, with special events and signature festivals bringing the community together throughout the year.
The two-day Double Decker Arts Festival – a springtime event that draws nearly 65,000 people from across the U.S. – celebrates Oxford’s rich food, music and arts scenes, while the Oxford Film Festival, held in February, gives residents access to more than 200 independent films from around the globe over the course of five days.
Locals love the Conference on the Front Porch, too, which takes place in October at The Mill at Plein Air in the nearby Taylor community. The conference includes two days of lectures, panels and other events exploring the significance of the front porch in the South and its relationship with music, food, literature and more.
And don’t forget about Ole Miss football. Each fall, the campus and surrounding community come alive when the Rebels take the field at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Many fans anxiously anticipate Grove Bowl weekend – an annual event that marks the end of spring football practice for the team and gives supporters a look at what the upcoming season holds.
“Football at Ole Miss is hard to put into words, especially for those of us who are blessed to call Oxford home,â€ says Michael Thompson, Ole Miss athletic department’s deputy athletics director for external relations and business development. “The Saturday game days are full of all of the traditional pageantry of college football, but at Ole Miss, the hospitality on display makes it feel more like a family reunion. Tailgating in the Grove is a bucket list experience that people travel from all over to take in, and it exceeds even the imagination of first-time visitors.”
Named The South’s Best Food Town in 2018 by Southern Living, Oxford has become a top spot for foodies – and as a result, residents are spoiled with choices when it comes to dining out.
Those craving a hearty meal often head to Oxford’s Neon Pig, a butcher shop and restaurant that specializes in house-cured meats and sources many of its ingredients from local farms. It’s best known for its Smash Burger, which was deemed Best Burger in America by Thrillist.com in 2015 and comprises a combination of aged filet, sirloin, ribeye, New York strip steak and Benton’s bacon.
Southern Craft Stove + Tap, one of the community’s newest restaurants, has quickly become a local favorite. Established in 2017 at the Oxford Commons, the restaurant features a diverse menu with fire-roasted pizza, burgers, street tacos and more, as well as an impressive bar program with 30 craft beers on tap and nearly 50 bourbon varieties. Plus, there’s live music on Sundays, a play area for kids and an outdoor seating area that executive chef Bubba Gross says is almost always shaded.
“Southern Craft Stove + Tap is an affordable, family-friendly restaurant,â€ says Gross, who owns the restaurant with his business partner, Tanner Griffin. “We take classic American dishes and make them a little more modern, and we like to think we have something that will suit every customer who walks in the door – foodies, picky eaters, children and everyone in between.â€
Another must-try dining spot is Delta Steak Co. in Abbeville, where customers can enjoy menu items like bacon-wrapped filet, Delta Cajun pasta and shrimp and grits, along with hand-crafted cocktails.
Active types are in luck here with plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, thanks to destinations like Avent Park, which is Oxford’s largest park and includes a walking trail, playground, baseball fields and four lighted tennis courts. Oxford also lays claim to FNC Park, one of the state’s premier soccer, baseball and softball facilities and home to both youth and adult sports leagues.
In addition, four of Mississippi’s major reservoirs – Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid and Grenada lakes – are within short drives, making it easy for locals to enjoy activities like fishing, boating and swimming.
Slated for completion in early 2019, the $12.9 million Oxford Activities Center will give residents even more access to recreation with a walking track, basketball courts and a gymnastics area.