Red Brick Friday Dog Days event attracts big crowd to downtown Oxford

Dog Days of August lived up to its dual meaning here again this year when the annual Uptown sidewalk sale was paired with a warm August evening for another Red Brick Friday with High Street closed off to vehicular traffic and people strolling down the middle of the city’s main thoroughfare.

Dog Days was a popular long-standing sidewalk sale on the first weekend of August with businesses offering items for sale all up and down High Street. Nonprofits and businesses based outside of the Uptown area were stationed in the parks. Bargains could be found on a variety of items, drawing people Uptown.

There would even occasionally be someone trying to find homes for boxes of puppies and kitties.

The event has changed a lot since those days, but the pairing with Red Brick Friday breathed new life into the old tradition, coupled with the DORA – the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area – allowing participants to carry adult beverages in public within the designated area Uptown.

The evening started with a dog parade led by Jennifer Marston from the Animal Care clinic from Beech Street to the performance pavilion where the dog judging took place.

Mayor Bill Snavely did the honors with his trusty tape measure to determine the tallest and shortest dogs as well as the one with the longest tail and then presiding over the selection of the dog with the best costume as determined by applause from everyone assembled for the event.

Tallest dog honors went to Marley, a 7-year-old Dane mix, standing 35 inches tall. The shortest dog was 12-year-old Lou at 10 inches. Several possible winners were measured for the longest tail with the winner determined to be Asil with a 20-inch tail.

Asil was one of two dogs pulling a “Pupweiser” wagon, which made the finals of the best costume but crowd applause was determined to favor Severus dressed up as a lion with a matching black mane and artificial lion ears.

Chamber of Commerce President Kelli Riggs said 14 vendors signed up to participate in the evening’s activities and said she was happy to see it brought people to the Uptown district.

“I am happy with the turnout. The rest of the Red Brick Fridays brought out about six (vendors). It definitely gets people out,” she said. “I got some mixed feelings from the businesses. Some wish it would go back to Saturday. Dog Days always increases Red Brick Friday. This is the biggest we’ve had with set-ups.”

The dog parade and judging was not the end of the evening’s canine activities as everyone was treated to a dog show performance of tricks by Team Zoom.

The evening was warm but that was to be expected for the “Dog Days of August” and fortunately a prediction of possible rain never materialized, which did strike the evening before, forcing cancelation of the Summer Music Festival performance.

All in all, the Red Brick Friday Dog Days event came off well.

“It helps businesses but is also just an event for the city itself,” Riggs said.