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George Atkins: Double Decker Balcony Etiquette – A Bird’s Eye View

I like to say that I didn’t marry my husband for his balcony on the Square, but it sure didn’t hurt his case.

George Atkins (left) and husband 'Dude' (Andy Sharp). Photo courtesy of George Atkins/Facebook
George Atkins (left) and husband ‘Dude’ (Andy Sharp).
Photo courtesy of George Atkins/Facebook
On most spring days there is no better place to be than a balcony overlooking the beautiful Oxford courthouse square and this is especially true for Double Decker weekend. As much fun as roaming the art and food booths can be, sometimes it’s nice to get out of the crowd (or the rain) and catch the view from the top. In the years before I met Dude, I would either try to wrangle an invitation to a private porch party or take advantage of one of the restaurants that boast a public balcony. In either case, whether you’re a guest, host, or customer – there are some simple rules to follow. Let’s call it balcony etiquette.

George Atkins (front, holding baby) celebrates a past Double Decker on a balcony with members of her family. Photo courtesy of George Atkins
George Atkins (front, holding baby) celebrates a past Double Decker on a balcony with members of her family.
Photo courtesy of George Atkins

Remember to Rotate
The balconies are prime bits of real estate with a finite max capacity, and Dude shares his with several other office holders, all of whom become very popular this time of year. If just family members showed up, it would push that capacity pretty quickly, so while it’s tempting to square squat, give other folks a chance to enjoy the view and the breeze. An hour on, hour off schedule works pretty well. If you’re hanging at City Grocery or the Burgundy Room, there will be plenty of people anxious for your seat, and it’s probably a good idea to walk around between rounds.

Store Your Stuff
It’s nice to have a place to leave that six-foot birdhouse while you go hear your favorite band, but the balcony is not the best place to do it. It just gets too crowded-things can get lost or broken in the shuffle. Your host will likely be happy to store your purchases somewhere inside. If you’re visiting one of the of the local bars, it’s best to take your purchases back to the car first. No telling how much loot the wait staff finds sitting under the tables on DD.

'Keep it in a Cup' Photo courtesy of George Atkins
‘Keep it in a Cup’
Photo courtesy of George Atkins

Keep it in a Cup (or a Can)
The old Grove rule “Keep it in a cup and your date standing up” works well for Double Decker. If you’re bringing your own beverages to the balcony, your host will be thrilled, but keep them recyclable. Cleaning up after Double Decker weekend is a big enough task without adding the weight of glass bottles, plus it’s a lot safer.

Yep, on crowded balcony, that’s a good way to lose your beverage and really tick off a fellow festival reveler below. If that happens, you might want to invite them up to dry off.

George Atkins (right) celebrates a previous Double Decker with her husband, Andy, and other friends. Photo courtesy of George Atkins
George Atkins (right) celebrates a previous Double Decker with her husband, Andy, and other friends.
Photo courtesy of George Atkins

George Atkins is a freelance writer and instructor in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric at Ole Miss. She can be reached at gatkins@olemiss.edu or on Facebook at Facebook.com/girl.george.olemiss

Jeff McVay is a staff writer and graphic designer for Hottytoddy.com. He can be reached at jeff.mcvay@hottytoddy.com

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