Michael, 4, and his younger brother cooled off by taking advantage of the water sprinklers at Freedom Park near Oxford Lake. They were just two of the hundreds who turned out at the lake Wednesday for the Oxford Freedom Festival.
It was near noon when Oxford resident Dawn Washington arrived at the festival with Michael and Colin.
“It looks like there is a lot to do,” Washington said. “I go to the park a lot but this is the first time I’ve ever come out here for the Fourth.”
The festival featured free paddle boat rides on the lake and miniature train rides for children and their parents. There was also plenty of vendors and music. Residents were free to bring their pets to join in on the fun. Unlike previous years, however, the nearby Oxford Civic Center was unavailable for use since it is currently being expanded. A large fireworks show was scheduled at the lake that evening.
“I’m coming back tonight for the fireworks,” Washington said. “Hopefully it won’t get rained out.”
Jennifer Senter of Oxford said she wanted to return to the lake in the evening for the fireworks show as well.
However, she was not sure if her 19-month-old daughter Noelle would let her.
“I don’t know if she’ll last that long,” Senter said with a laugh.
Though an Oxford resident, Senter was a first-timer at the festival Wednesday.
“It’s great … I’m impressed,” Senter said.
Senter said her daughter particularly enjoyed the train ride and the dogs that some residents had brought.
“She loves the dogs,” Senter said.
Stephanie Mayfield of Lincoln said her family decided to try a change of pace and have its regular Fourth of July reunion at the festival this year. Mayfield, who has relatives in Oxford, said her family normally celebrates the holiday atop Mount Cheaha. This year, Mayfield will have about 50 family members from Montevallo, Lineville and north Gadsden.
“We decided this year to pick somewhere a little bit closer for everyone and we wanted the chance to see the fireworks,” Mayfield said as her aunt prepared a large picnic table at a pavilion by the lake.
Mayfield said that from what she’d seen so far, the festival seemed like a good event.
“I’ve even saw that they have fried Oreos,” Mayfield said with a laugh. “Those are pretty good.”
Star staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star