WAXAHACHIE

The Waxahachie Interdependent Order of Odd Fellows lodge is hosting its fourth annual Oddfest on Saturday.

The event is a celebration of art, entertainment and community fellowship and will be held 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. in Singleton Plaza, located on College Street in downtown Waxahachie. Parking is free at the old Waxahachie Police Station.

The event itself is also free and open to the public to attend. The proceeds from the sale of drinks, T-shirts and vendor spaces will go to benefit restoration efforts at the lodge, which is located on South Rodgers Street.

“This is an annual fundraiser that we have been doing to help preserve our building that was built in 1891. Odd Fellows have owned it since 1911,” said Tom Wright, Odd Fellow secretary, and trustee. “There are close to 30 windows in the building, and they are kind of a priority right now that are in need of repair. We have spoken to the person that did the windows at the Ellis County Museum about doing the work.”

Wright stated that, along with the windows, wiring needs to be updated and some drop ceilings need to be removed. He added Historic Waxahachie voted the building as one most engaged building last year.

According to the Ellis County Museum website, the Waxahachie Odd Fellows lodge was first established in 1859. It was re-established after the Civil War in 1871, and the Odd Fellows organization was set up as a benevolent organization to help care for members of the community.

“In the Odd Fellows, there are really four things we do. We do our duty to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphans. The arm of that we choose to focus on relieves the distressed,” Odd Fellow treasurer Jeff Browning said. “Throughout the year, there are people down on their luck. We hear about them. They may be in the hospital, not earning a check, and we will help them out with that. We give a scholarship out every year. We have also given money out to an older person who could not afford their electricity bill.”

Browning said the group has met at its current location since 1912.

Oddfest will feature live music and more than 30 artists from around the state. The artists will have their art on display and for sale, including retired Waxahachie High School art teacher Carl Block. According to a previous Daily Light article, Block is a potter and has some of his work displayed in the Smithsonian Institute.

Live music will begin at about 11 a.m. Oddfest will also feature food and craft beer donated from several breweries. Soft drinks and water will be available for purchase, as well.

Browning added, “We hope the people will buy a lot of art from our vendors and we can start doing this every year. They can expect to be entertained and have a good time. We have a lot of good artists that are coming in from out of town. You can bring your kids down. It is family friendly. It is just going to be a fun time had by all.”

Participants can make a donation to the building fund by speaking with any Odd Fellow during the event.

Donations can also be dropped off at the lodge during its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Mondays. The lodge is located at 200 S. Rogers St. in Waxahachie and will be open for guided tours during the festival.