Holiday excitement was evident when the Oxford Chamber of Commerce held its Business Holiday Walk, and there was a caring community aspect to the event amid all the fun and merriment.
The Business Holiday Walk was again held in the Uptown parks with music, holiday tree decorating and prizes last month on Nov. 30.
This year, community organizations decorated trees, which were subsequently donated to families who might not otherwise have one — or at least not one as ornate as made by the decorating groups.
The Lane Public Library tree won the decorating contest, and then the trees and all the decorations on them were donated to the local families supported by the Family Resource Center.
“This is one of my favorite events. Not only is it fun for everyone, it is giving back to the community,” said Oxford Chamber of Commerce President Kelli Riggs, who explained those families not only received trees but also breakfast. “Kroger gave us a $300 gift card we used to get breakfast for all 10 families. There was enough to fill a basket. There was probably food for three days, depending on the size of the family.”
The Lions Club donated five of the trees and the Chamber bought the other five.
Oxford Bible Fellowship and St. Mary Church handled delivery duties this year. Last year, families were invited to pick them up but some had difficulty, so the churches stepped up this year.
“It worked out perfect,” Riggs said.
People were invited to walk to Uptown businesses, which offered special shopping hours as well as cookies and hot chocolate. Each store also took registrations for the evening’s grand prize drawing which was won by Bayley Allen, a Miami University student and Talawanda graduate.
Oxford’s Uptown bakery, Dough-Versity, was at the event in the park with doughnuts, coffee and hot chocolate.
Music was provided during the evening by the Miami Cheezies, an acapella group, and Talawanda High School’s acapella group Fermatta Nowhere and Chamber Singers.
As people walked from store to store, or congregated in the parks, they were able to enjoy a holiday feeling and meet with friends and neighbors to catch up. Business was booming, too, as many came Uptown for the event from 5 to 8 p.m., but business went on even longer.
“I heard several stores stayed busy all night. People walked Uptown,” Riggs said. “It was just bigger.”
Carol Havens, of the Butler County United Way, agreed the crowd was impressive.
“What we were trying to do was bring people Uptown to shop,” Havens said. “A big draw was the parents and grandparents of the singers.”
Riggs reminds everyone to save the date of Jan. 17, the date of the Chamber’s Red Bricks to Progress annual meeting and awards night. It will be held at the Oxford Community Arts Center and among the awards being handed out will be the Business of the Year award. Details of the event are still being completed.