OXFORD — The City of Oxford’s annual Holiday Fest brought the community out for iceless ice skating, hot chocolate, and carriage rides last weekend. The festival was held on Saturday, Dec. 2 in the Oxford Uptown Parks.
According to Oxford Parks and Recreation Director Casey Wooddell, Holiday Fest is a full-day event, beginning with a Craft Market at the Oxford Community Arts Center (OCAC) from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Also at OCAC, there were Santa visits from 12-2 p.m., Kids Korner activities from 12-3 p.m., musical performances from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., and a magician from 12:15-1:45 p.m.
The evening is when the festival really kicked off. From 5-9 p.m. there was iceless ice skating, carriage rides, live reindeer, more musical and dance performances, and a photo van. Santa Claus arrived to the festival by Fire Truck at 6:30 p.m. and together they “Light Up Oxford” before Santa does visits from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
The live reindeer are provided by Whitetail Acres and the Carriage Rides are provided by Ro-Da-O Farm.
“Holiday Fest has been going on for 20-plus years, but it’s evolved the past few years into this full-day ‘community event’ with many partnerships and supporters,” Wooddell explained. “We keep doing this event because it’s one of the many ways we give back to the community, by providing positive experiences that impact the quality of life here in Oxford and make this city a great place to live, work, and play.
“We put smiles on people’s faces, especially kids, and contribute to an overall healthy community. The response was nothing but positive this year. Many people called it ‘magical’ and ‘amazing.’ The festival was very popular and well-attended, like previous years. Attendance has grown little by little for the past several years as we continue to evolve this event.”
Many organizations come together to help plan this event every year, including: Oxford Parks & Recreation, Enjoy Oxford, Oxford Chamber of Commerce, Oxford Community Arts Center, MAP (Miami Activities & Planning), and Talawanda Band Boosters.
The following all provided monetary donations to this year’s event: Oxford Community Foundation, Robin Smith Electric, Century 21 – Thacker & Associates, Jay Bennett Law Office, Skipper’s Pub, and Miami University.
According to Wooddell, there is already a date picked out for the festival next year. It is held the first Saturday of December every year, so next year it will fall on Dec. 1. He added, at this point there are no major changes coming for 2018, but they will be working on fine-tuning the existing activities and entertainment options.
“Thank you to the Oxford Parks & Recreation team for all their planning and preparation, as well as our partnerships and sponsors,” Wooddell said. “This event, like most community events here, was free to enjoy. Oxford is dedicated to providing quality recreation activities and events to the community, and I’m blessed to be part of many great things happening here.”