Permanent outdoor dining is almost a reality in Oxford as the East Jackson Avenue “streetery” project nears completion.
While the city had plans to expand the sidewalks of the busy street pre-pandemic, the need and popularity of temporary outdoor dining during COVID altered those plans slightly.
From a basic expansion due to safety concerns, the current design will create a pedestrian-friendly area while allowing restaurants to expand their footprint to allow permanent outdoor dining and shops to utilize space for sidewalk sales.
As the project came to fruition, Visit Oxford Executive Director Kinney Ferris and her team wanted to commemorate the new space.
“We are thrilled that our visitors and community will now have a more pedestrian-friendly area and that the businesses will have expanded footprints,” Ferris said. “We’re excited to bring live music to the newly reconfigured street and celebrate that we now have permanent outdoor dining with ‘Eat in the Street.’”
On Saturday, Aug. 28, Jackson Avenue East will be blocked to allow family-friendly festivities throughout the day before ending with live music on-stage at the west end near the U.S Federal Court building and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
Get your stretch on
Start the morning with Yoga in the Street at 8 a.m. with Lydia Siniard Foster. Bring your yoga mat and get your yoga on in the street in front of Visit Oxford.
From 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., a balloon artist will be set up on the lawn of Visit Oxford creating balloon art for children. From 1-4 p.m., Ole Miss Athletics will have interactive games for young Rebel fans. This setup will be located in the parking lot behind Olive Juice Kids, next to Visit Oxford. Members of the athletics department will be present to meet and greet and to distribute promotional posters for the upcoming season.
With tables and chairs lining the middle of East Jackson Avenue, patrons can grab food from “small bites” menus around the Square and, quite literally, eat in the street. Participating restaurants offering special menu items include Saint Leo, Moe’s BBQ and SoLa. As more join in the coming weeks, Visit Oxford will add them to online promotions and throughout their social media.
Live music will kick off with Jimbo Mathus and the Dial Back Sounds taking the stage at 5 p.m; Mathus is a local singer-songwriter and guitarist who has played the Double Decker Arts Festival several times, the latest being in 2018 as part of the Squirrel Nut Zippers band.
Memphis soul gospel queen Elizabeth King will take the stage next. King recorded her first single in 1970 but didn’t release her first full-length album, Living in the Last Days, until 2021.
The headliner for ‘Eat in the Street’ is Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors who will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. An Americana act hailing from Nashville, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors have sold over 150,000 albums to date and played over 2,000 concert dates in seven countries.
“We hope you’ll join us throughout the day for ‘Eat in the Street’ on August 28,” Ferris said.
“Bring your lawn chairs to set up in the street as you support local restaurants and businesses, as well as enjoy some great live music on our brand new ‘streetery.’”