UPDATE NOON 9-27-22:
DUE TO FORECAST WEATHER EVENTS, CULTUREFEST ORGANIZERS HAVE MADE THE “DIFFICULT DECISION TO CANCEL AND POSTPONE UNTIL NEXT MAY.”
BE SURE TO READ THE FOLLOWING UPDATED NEWS TEXT:
This Saturday’s CultureFEST in downtown Oxford has been rescheduled, thanks to the likelihood that the area will be dealing with the remnants of Hurricane Ian, now poised to hit Florida’s Gulf Coast tomorrow (Wednesday).
Two of the event organizers – Oxford Mayor Jackie Sergent and Ajulo Othow – were on TownTalk Monday to spread the word about the event, which was going to mark its second year of being held in the parking lot at Littlejohn Street.
Sergent contacted WIZS News Tuesday morning to share the news of the postponement.
“We have made the difficult decision to cancel and postpone until next May,” Sergent said.
With weather forecasts predicting that North Carolina will be hit with heavy rains from the storm, it was a case of better safe than sorry.
ORIGINAL STORY 9-26-22:
The parking lot at Littlejohn Street will be the site for the second annual CultureFEST on Saturday, Oct. 1 in downtown Oxford.
The sights and sounds are local, to be sure, but the flair – and flavor – of the event is international, as dance groups representing the diversity of cultures are featured or all to enjoy. In addition to the dance performances, there will be food trucks and children’s activities during the event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Two of the event organizers spoke Monday with John C. Rose on TownTalk. Ajulo Othow expressed appreciation to the City of Oxford and the Downtown Oxford Economic Development Corporation for their collaboration and partnership to make CultureFEST a downtown event.
“Our goal is to grow this event from year to year,” said Oxford Mayor Jackie Sergent. “We’re excited about the opportunity to bring people from a variety of backgrounds…to enjoy all the different things that culture brings to the table.”
At 11:30 a Hawaiian dance group kicks off a slew of performances that will take the stage through the course of the afternoon. “They did a wonderful job setting the tone last year,” Othow noted. A new group representing the Haliwa Saponi tribe will join this year’s event, and there will Orgullo y Alma Latina presenting traditional dances of Guerrero, Mexico, and the Carolina Indian Arts performing dances from the Punjab region of India. The African American Dance Ensemble and the Cane Creek Cloggers also will perform.
“It’s going to be a wonderful day!” Othow said. “We’re excited about all of the different performers.”
It was Othow’s mother, the late Dr. Helen Othow, who founded the John Chavis Historical Society and it was this group that started the festival, but it was last year that CultureFEST was held in downtown Oxford for a larger audience.
“We are so grateful to the City of Oxford and the DOEDC for seeing all of the ways in which our community is on display – valuing culture, different ways of performance, dance and music.”
Folks can get a close-up view in demonstrations including tortilla making, glass blowing and the art of karate.
The Food trucks also will serve food representative of a variety of cultures – from the Soul Food of Butner’s Tru Soul to Mexican food provided by Mixed Cultures and Truly Delicious Jamaican-style food, there will be something for everyone.
The St. Cyprian’s Drummers will provide entertainment and if folks recognize some familiar faces in the bluegrass band that will accompany the Cane Creek Cloggers, they will have correctly identified Tim and Brenda Currin of Granville County.
Sergent said CultureFEST is a way to experience different cultures and to break from a natural tendency to stay in our own comfort zones. “We owe the existence of this event to Ajulo’s mom, who always wanted us to do more,” Sergent said, “pushing us to make us do (and) be more than we had been.”
Helen Othow died in January 2022 at the age of 89. There will be a special tribute to her life and legacy during Saturday’s event.