Pop Up Oxford helps boost business during winter slump

Posted on Jan 29 2018 - 7:57am by Rachel Ishee

During the first week of classes, the Oxford community gathered to celebrate the city’s rich culture and local economy through Pop Up Oxford. The week’s events included speakers, exhibits, programs and lectures that highlighted the college town’s literary, musical and cultural heritage.

Katie Kaiser, communications and partnership manager at Visit Oxford said the plans for Pop Up Oxford highlighted events that visitors and locals of all ages and backgrounds would enjoy attending.

“All of (the events) are focused on Oxford’s cultural scene, which allures every age and interest group,” said Katie Kaiser, communications and partnership manager at Visit Oxford.

The week was made up of new events such as the Cocktails Book Party at Big Bad Breakfast and older events like the Fiber Arts Festival.

Bailey Fletcher demonstrates Sashiko stitching at the Powerhouse on Friday, a part of Oxford Fiber Arts Festival. Among the display of Fletcher’s work were classic Sashiko designs such as the wave stitch (left) and the rice flower stitch (right). This was a part of the second Pop Up Oxford, Jan. 20-27, held cultural events to celebrate Oxford’s literary, musical and cultural heritage. Photo by Jeanne Torp

“The eighth annual Fiber Arts Festival (lasted) throughout the weekend and (showcased) local fiber artists through workshops, a market and demonstrations,” Kaiser said. “There’s Square Books author signings, Ole Miss men’s basketball against Alabama, Ford Center for the Performing Arts performances, artists lectures, live music and more.”  

Between football and baseball season, when there is normally a dip in tourism, Pop Up Oxford sought to bring in visitors and give locals a chance to explore their city. Kaiser said this timing is helpful to both attendees and retailers.

“Our businesses need some attention during this winter slump, and these various events compiled into one week is meant to be exciting and convenient for all,” Kaiser said.

The Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce produced a Shop Oxford coupon that was valid throughout the week of Pop Up Oxford that included 15 percent off restaurants, boutique shops and other business in town to promote local spending.

Kaiser said the lower hotel rates, less traffic in town and shorter waits at restaurants encouraged tourists to visit during this time.

“Oxford is becoming more and more famous for our great food, local music, literary heritage, sports entertainment and exquisite art,” Kaiser said. “Being a college town, some parts of the year are slower than others. It’s our job at Visit Oxford to market the town all year round.”

Kaiser said this year’s celebration featured several new events, including the sold out Southern Foodways Alliance Guide to Cocktails Book Party at Big Bad Breakfast.

“This event featured author Sara Camp Milam, Snacker cocktails and demonstrations on how to make your own cocktails,” Kaiser said.

Rachel Long, a freshman IMC major, said she appreciates events like Pop Up Oxford for shining a light on the unique and diverse city.

“I think that these events contribute to the stamina of the community and allow all the members to feel important or at least heard,” Long said. “Many places in Mississippi don’t get recognized for the good, so I think it’s really awesome that Oxford is recognized for its history, character and appeal to artists of all genres.”

Although 2018 was only the second year Pop Up Oxford has occurred, the planners hope it becomes an annual event.