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And they’re off! After much planning and preparation by local artists and sponsors, a herd of 68 painted, decorated, and embellished life-sized oxen will grace fields, sidewalks, roadsides and other locations throughout Hopewell Valley beginning tomorrow, Friday August 15 through October 19.

Hosted by the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, the Stampede public art exhibit also will feature community events and contests that will culminate with a silent auction of the oxen. While many of the oxen are already in place along streets, at municipal buildings and in front of businesses, others will continue to be join the Stampede during the coming weeks.

Beginning September 1, free Stampede maps will be available at locations throughout Hopewell Valley and participants can join in the “Where’s Olly?”, contest that lets users track the ox they visit via smartphone and to vote on a favorite.

The arts council is also creating five different cycling routes that wind you through Hopewell Valley’s countryside and past oxen for bike riders, as well as a “Cattle Drive” tour for vehicular travelers. All of the routes will be found online as the oxen appear. Fans of particular ox interested in owning a piece of the exhibit can also participate in a public online “oxtion” that will begin in mid-September.

You can keep up on all the events, programs and activities by following the Hopewell Valley Arts Council on FaceBook (Facebook.com/HVStampede) and Instagram (#ollyox, @hvartscouncil).

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Andrea Fereshteh has been writing for as long as she can remember. An avid journal-keeper as a child, she dabbled in dramatic notes to her parents and designed her own stationary. With a zest for small talk and meeting new people, she pursued journalism in college and worked for nine years in PR, writing and media relations for the higher ed and nonprofit sectors. She has a mousters and ducktorate from Disney University and is a mother to two lively boys who inspire her to just keep writing, just keep writing.

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