Long before Ole Miss, or even graduate school was on my radar, I hopped aboard a Megabus with my friend, Allison, and we headed to the Double Decker Arts Festival in Oxford, Mississippi. I remember seeing a lot of Lily Pulitzer clothing and thinking that Oxford was an artsy little place.
Now that Steve and I reside in Oxford, I looked forward to this festival to celebrate the end of my first year of graduate school.
With $40 in cash, we headed to the square. This wouldn’t be a budget blog if I didn’t first mention that Steve spent two hours developing Instagram content for a local taco truck to earn some extra cash. The owner of YoknapaTaco, Jake Sessums, is an energetic 30-something with a French bulldog named Phyllis. YoknapaTaco hasn’t been around for that long, but Jake is quickly building his fan base with his outgoing and down to earth personality.
While Steve was hustling, I sat on the balcony of Square Books, a store that makes me feel nostalgic for my days spent as an English major. When Steve was finished with his gig, we walked around the square, peeking into booths and trying to decide what to eat.
The festival features booths lining the square and going down each extending street. There is so much to see and the range of vendors is amazing. There were booths selling candles, bird houses, wooden spoons, canvas art, photos, jewelry, throw pillows, lemonade, food, and more.
We chose to try a cheese pizza from Fergndan’s Wood Fired Pizza. They’re a family owned and relatively new food truck in town. I’m not kidding when I say they have a s’mores dessert pizza. Seriously decadent.
In addition to the vendors and booths, all of the shops, restaurants, and bars on the square were open as well. We went to a bar called The Growler; Steve had been told this was the place to get a solid beer. With a selection of over 30 taps, I chose a black cherry cider and Steve chose a Rubaeus malt. The cider was spot on, not too sweet, but not too bitter. Steve’s malt reminded him of Lindemans’ Framboise (his favorite beer). The bar was surprisingly intimate with lounge chairs and coffee tables instead of bar stools and dart boards. We’ll definitely be returning to The Growler for their atmosphere and cider.
The Double Decker Arts Festival is an annual event in the spring that brings locals and visitors together. It was like football tailgating in the spring. Everyone was dressed nicely and happy to connect with friends and neighbors. As someone who once visited the fest with no knowledge of Oxford, it gives visitors a chance to see the best parts of Oxford in one event.
It’s a reminder for those who forget and an introduction to first time visitors that Oxford, Mississippi is a small town with a love for arts and literature.