Football fans will find many new places and spaces to explore when they return to Oxford for the 2021 season.
Written by Abbey Edmonson
Photographed by Joe Worthem
The beginning of the Ole Miss football season marks the return of many visitors in Oxford. For some, it’s been well over a year since they’ve made the migration to the Velvet Ditch. There have been quite a few new and exciting additions to the town since pre-COVID-19 times, so make sure to check them all out!
Lamar Yard Smokehouse
South Lamar houses one of Oxford’s newest barbecue and music venues. The two-acre property located about a mile and a half from the Square at 2200 South Lamar Blvd. consists of an expansive yard, a full-service restaurant and an adjacent barn and music hall. The venue has games, a playground and several TVs, making it suitable for patrons of all ages. Visitors can watch as a plethora of meats such as brisket, ribs and pork cook over a smoker called “Vidalia” that utilizes live fire cooking over oak wood. There is also a repurposed food truck that now serves as a daquiri and ice cream bar. In addition to its regular hours, the venue is available to rent out for private parties, and they offer catering as well.
“We’re not really targeting one specific group only,” co-owner Patrick Ellis said. “We kind of cater to everybody whether it’s families, or elderly people or young students. It’s not for one group; it’s for everybody.”
The Green at Harrison’s
Officially opened in 2018, Harrison’s 1810 is a bar and grill located just off the Square at 1210 Harrison Ave. In March 2021, Harrison’s opened its newest addition to the property. The Green at Harrison’s is an adjacent yard with a full bar, big screen TVs, outdoor billiards, games, live music and a variety of outdoor seating and lounge areas. Food trucks such as Hotbox Hibachi and Wiggly’s operate in the parking lot next door. Not only is there live music every weekend, but there are also big plans in the works for future events. Harrison’s manager Hayes Dent said that they are working on booking bigger music names for Friday nights. Several smaller events like cornhole tournaments, yoga classes and movie watch parties are being scheduled as well. Private parties and businesses can rent out the Green for their own events. Dent says he thinks the new addition is the perfect hangout spot for pre- or post-ballgames.
“We encourage everyone of all different age groups to come out,” Dent said. “We’ve got a very adult-friendly venue. We’re friendly to everybody. We’d love for everyone to come out and enjoy our music Thursday through Sunday... We’ve got great bartenders, security guards, servers and everything that everybody would ever want from a bar right off the Oxford Square.”
Greetings Tour Mural
Muralist Victor Ving and photographer Lisa Beggs left everything they knew in 2015 to move into an RV and travel around the country painting postcard murals full-time. Ving and Beggs meet locals and learn about the history of the city they’re going to before getting started on their scenic murals. In April 2021, they revealed one of their newest commissions in Oxford. Artwork featuring Oxford staples such as the water tower, fried catfish and Princess Hoka can be found on a wall in the parking lot behind Neilson’s Department Store. Ving and Beggs collaborated with local artist Bradley Gordon on part of the piece as well. This new mural joins a collection of national murals that can be found in almost every state.
“With these murals,” Ving said. “We really hope to encourage, you know, to spark interest in a place. We already see a lot of people detouring their road trips to collect photos in front of our murals. It’s kind of a modern-day postcard... So, our hope is that people detour, check out Oxford, help the local businesses and just draw some attention. Our main client is the tourism and hospitality industry, and obviously that industry was hit pretty severely last year, so we’re hoping that we can do our part to help out.”
Drive past the Powerhouse, Pat Lamar Park, the University of Mississippi Museum or Meek Hall on campus, and you’ll notice a collection of new sculptures. The Yokna Sculpture Trail is a collaboration between the University of Mississippi, the City of Oxford and the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. These exhibits consist of both rotating and permanent sculptures created by locally, regionally and nationally renowned artists. The trail is meant to engage the L-O-U community in unexpected places while creating a pathway to resources like the university museum, the Powerhouse and other community spaces. It also provides opportunity for art students to gain experience working on big projects and networking with other artists.
“The goal is to create an outdoor gallery that changes over time, creating new experiences, drawing new artists to our community and building relations between artists and our community,” YAC Director Wayne Andrews said. “Part of the goal is to provide an opportunity to bring artists to L-O-U and create opportunities for the public to engage with the artists.”
In addition to the Yokna Sculpture Trail pieces, you can also find permanent exhibits that are part of a project overseen by the City of Oxford. The newest addition to this project is “Victory Dance,” a sculpture created by Oxford artist Earl Dismuke. It is located on the South Lamar roundabout, across the street from the Lamar Yard Smokehouse.
…And So Much More!
North Lamar Pocket Park
Oxford’s first pocket park, at the corner of North Lamar Boulevard and Price Street, offers an area of rest for pedestrians. It is located where Fire Station No. 1 used to be.
One of the newest additions to town is Rockhouse Live, located at 308 S. Lamar Blvd. (in the former Soul Shine Pizza space). Like its flagship location in Clearwater Beach, Florida, Rockhouse Live combines live and virtual entertainment with a bar and restaurant experience, and provides more opportunities for both local and touring bands to perform.
Oxford Canteen Mural
Officially completed in the fall of 2020 and painted by Vic Daily, this mural at 766 N. Lamar Blvd., features bees and flowers to pay homage to the adjacent Oxford Canteen, a restaurant committed to sustainability. Restaurant owner Cynthia Joyce said she wanted to echo the flowers they have out front while also giving a nod to Oil Shed, the plant store next door.
Coolidge Ball Statue
A larger-than-life likeness of Coolidge Ball, the first Black athlete at Ole Miss, now stands outside The Pavilion on campus. Pick up our September magazine to read all about it!
The Isom Place
One of the most historic buildings in Oxford, located at 1003 Jefferson Ave., is now open for special events and private parties. It is also home to Invitation Magazines!