TAYLOR • Plein Air is a small, front porch community just outside of Oxford in Taylor, Mississippi. For the past five years, the close-knit group of residents has hosted an annual event celebrating their idyllic home.
In October, members of the Plein Air community will host their fifth annual fall gathering known as The Conference on the Front Porch. The event will run from Friday, Oct. 28 through Sunday, Oct. 30.
The three-day conference will include a "porch party" at the Southern Living Idea House located in Taylor, a tented four-course dinner on the main lawn and a send-off jazz brunch to close out the weekend among other food and music festivities throughout the weekend.
"In the past, this event has been a two-day conference with speakers and musicians," says Dakin Reed, Plein Air's Wedding and Events Director.
Plein Air currently comprises 80 homes, a coffee shop, restaurant and chapel along with a few more local spots with more on the way.
The construction of the Plein Air community began in 2006 by Campbell McCool with the idea of a small, Southern community in mind. The Conference on the Front Porch drives this point home by offering front-porch style events and meals for attendees.
"It's centered around the American front porch in southern society where you can gather and talk to your closest friends for hours with a glass of wine or wave to your neighbors as they pass," Reed said. "Plein Air promotes community and fellowship," said the Tupelo native.
Check-in for The Conference on the Front Porch will begin the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 28. There will be a few guest speakers on Friday evening followed by a cocktail hour at the Southern Living Idea House afterwards.
Mississippi's own Mac McAnally will be the headlining musical act for the October weekend event with special guest Charlie Mars joining on Friday night.
One of the featured guest speakers scheduled to attend is Marshall Ramsey, the editorial cartoonist and Editor-At-Large for Mississippi Today. This year's keynote speaker is Robert Davis, founder of Seaside, Florida.
Other guests include visual artist and singer-songwriter Abe Partridge; writer and commentator John T. Edge; author January Gill O’Neil; and Oxford-based musician Bedon Lancaster.
Tickets prices are $449 a person. Each ticket includes five full meals crafted specifically for the weekend by Grit Restaurant, plus all the entertainment the weekend has to offer, including guest speakers, musical performances and parties.
Only 200 spots are available, so Reed recommended securing tickets ahead of time to guarantee a spot for the quaint conference. Tickets can be purchased online at www.theconferenceonthefrontporch.com.