By Alyssa Schnugg
Just before the skies begin to turn dark Thursday, the Oxford Square will light up.
The city of Oxford announced that the Christmas lights on the Square will be turned on at 5 p.m. on Thursday. Along with the canopy of lights, lights around the façade of buildings and on the crepe myrtle trees will also be lit up.
The canopy lights were brought back in 2018 by Mayor Robyn Tannehill after seeing old photographs and hearing stories for years about how magical the Square was at Christmastime when it was blanketed with a canopy of lights.
Lights were draped from the storefronts to the clocktower on the Lafayette County Courthouse that created a canopy, or a carousel effect of lights around the center of the Square.
“We have learned through research that the canopy of lights was enjoyed during the 1960s and that the original canopy had orange, green, red and blue lightbulbs that were regularly sized bulbs, not the small light bulbs that are used today,” Tannehill said. “While researching our options we discovered that these larger, colored bulbs would overload today’s infrastructure.”
Instead, the lights are an off-white color, similar to incandescent lights. There are 14 strands of lights leading from storefronts to the clocktower.
Tannehill also announced Wednesday that the city will be bringing back another old-time Oxford tradition this holiday season.
“We will be lighting the blue water tower this year,” she said Wednesday in a press release. “As best we can determine from photographs and fuzzy memories, the tradition of lighting the blue water tower began in 1994,” she said. “We’ve heard many stories of how people knew they were home from the holidays when they spotted the lights on the water tower from Highways 6 and 7.”
Stringing lights on the water tower stopped around 2009 due to many needed repairs.
“As Oxford grows, we continue to find ways to take our cherished traditions and turn them into new experiences,” Tannehill said.
The Oxford Building and Grounds crew along with crews from Oxford Utilities and the Oxford Fire Department have been working diligently to have the lights ready for SEC Network in Oxford this weekend for the Ole Miss game against LSU.
For more information, contact Kara Giles at email@example.com.