As the two reached the pier, Lindsey was out of breath, but had enjoyed the experience.
“It was good -– tiresome, but good,” Lindsey said as her five-year-old granddaughter clutched her leg.
Hundreds endured the heat Monday at Oxford Lake to celebrate July 4 through the city’s annual Freedom Festival, sponsored by the Oxford Arts Council.
By the time the event kicked off around 9 a.m., temperatures had already jumped into the high 80s and would continue to climb throughout the day. Still, the blazing sun did not deter Lindsey and her family.
For her, Monday was the first time she had ever attended the Freedom Festival, despite living just two blocks away from the lake.
“But this time I had my grandbaby and she said she wanted to do something,” Lindsey said. “But it’s been a fun thing to do. I love it.”
The festival was loaded with events this year to keep families entertained.
The event kicked off with a small parade of children dressed in patriotic costumes, followed by tricycle and bicycle races. Free pedal boat rides on the lake were available, along with swimming races at the swimming pool, karate demonstrations and a variety of food and drinks.
And for those who needed a break from the heat, the air-conditioned Oxford Civic Center was open as host to free carnival games and a local art show.
A large fireworks display at the lake rounded out the evening.
Even animals had something to do, via the festival’s pet show. Residents mainly brought dogs, though one person brought a surprisingly relaxed Siamese cat. Even reptiles had a couple of representatives in the pet show.
However, Joey Boyd’s Boston Terrier, Uno, clinched the title of best in show this year.
Boyd, who lives with his wife and three boys in Oxford, had never attended the festival before.
“Normally, we come just for the fireworks,” Boyd said. “We’re going to come back later and enjoy the fireworks this time too.”
Cheryl Cameron of Hobson City was one of several local artists who participated in the local art show. An artist for more than 20 years, Cameron sells her many works at various events each year, including the Freedom Festival.
“I try to do this one every year,” Cameron said.
Cameron also teaches an after-school art program at the Anniston High School’s Kilby House.
Along with colorful, handmade felt and wool bracelets and necklaces, Cameron had detailed sketch drawings of scenes at Oxford Lake.
“I just went out to the lake and took a sketch pad,” Cameron said.
Contact staff writer Patrick McCreless at 256-235-3561.