The smell of freshly brewed coffee wafts through the air, mingling with the quiet morning chatter and soft jazz playing overhead. A voice calls out a name, breaking the tranquility for a moment.
The coffee shop grows quiet again as a polished redhead retrieves her coffee. She takes a seat and works on her class assignments before heading to work.
When she finishes her coffee, she gets in her car and heads to the Square. She stops in front of a little building many may not notice.
Bouré, Funky’s, and Rooster’s Blues House are the usual focus of this street, but not for her. She walks past a little iron gate and a gray and seafoam colored sign that reads: “Visit Oxford Mississippi.”
Brittney McCoy, 22, is a junior integrated marketing communications major from Indianapolis, Indiana. McCoy joined the Visit Oxford team in January and has recently extended her internship position with them. She currently manages many of Visit Oxford’s social media accounts.
Once being a visitor herself, McCoy now works with Visit Oxford to help visitors have the same great experience she had when she first walked into the Grove.
The Visit Oxford staff provides visitors with docent services, gift bags, and itinerary planning. Their team also attends many local, statewide, and out-of-state conferences, special events, and visits other visitor centers representing Oxford.
“The staff at Visit Oxford is so talented,” McCoy said. “They can do anything to ensure every visitor enjoys their time in Oxford.”
The staff also hosts and participates in various events every season in the Oxford community, the most recent being the Double Decker Arts Festival. McCoy worked behind the scenes at Double Decker this year.
“I enjoyed recruiting volunteer festival workers, helping make Double Decker graphic designs, and posting festival information on the Visit Oxford Instagram account,” she said. “Lee Ann Stubbs, the festival coordinator, is a very creative and talented woman, and I’m thankful she allowed me to be a part of the festival.”
Stubbs, 33, from Gulfport, has been the Double Decker coordinator for three years. Stubbs manages almost every aspect of the festival, including DD merchandise, organizing art and food vendors, and working with the director of Visit Oxford on all festival promotions.
Stubbs works diligently to provide a fun, organized, and safe festival that everyone can enjoy. She watched the festival grow during her time as coordinator.
“Double Decker has grown over the years, and has become a premiere arts festival in the Southeast,” Stubbs said.
But don’t let the success of the festival fool you, Double Decker came from humble beginnings. The festival has grown in Stubbs’ three years as coordinator, but in the past 22 years, there have been major advancements.
Double Decker was not always the extravagant event that it is today. This beloved festival started in 1996 with the help of Mayor-elect Robyn Tannehill and Mayor Pat Patterson. Tannehill served on the Oxford Tourism Council at the time.
“The festival literally started in the bed of a pickup truck serving as a stage for music,” Stubbs said. “Robyn saw a vision and created something that has probably exceeded many people’s expectations.”
While Double Decker has come far from it’s pickup truck days, there is still work to be done.
“Each year we try to improve the festival,” said Stubbs, “whether it’s through the layout to ensure safety or expanding the music lineup, we work hard to make sure our festival attendees have an experience that makes them want to come back from year to year.”
Stubbs and the entire Double Decker committee work diligently to continue the festival’s progress and to provide new and exciting things each year.
“We have seen both festival attendance grow, as well as the number of art vendor applications that we receive,” she said.
Double Decker has become such a hit that “it is known as the unofficial reunion weekend for many Ole Miss alums and people who love to visit Oxford,” Stubbs said. “It has become the spring weekend to come back to visit because of it’s richness in food, music, and the arts.”
Whether you’re a high school student seeing Ole Miss for the first time or a seasoned veteran who knows everything there is about Oxford, the Visit Oxford team strives to provide a great experience for everyone.
You can visit the Visit Oxford website to see a full listing of events taking place in Oxford at http://visitoxfordms.com/ and follow them on Instagram @visitoxford.