Things return to normal in Oxford following debate

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - With the first presidential debate over, the spotlight is off and the cleanup is on in Oxford, Mississippi.

At the University of Mississippi on Saturday, the rafters came down, the media riser emptied out, and the presidential debate hall became a shell.

Those who watched the first presidential debate of 2008 first-hand are now exhaling in reflection.

"It was a grand event for the University and Oxford," said Ole Miss alumni Jon Turner.
Turner said the university and town really came alive Friday. "All the attention ended up here on Oxford and Mississippi and all the progress we've made. The great things going on here. So, it was a great event."

Journalists from all over the world traveled to Oxford for the event.

"The voter registration and bands and was just amazing," said Dutch television journalist Eelco Bosh Van Rosen.

But now, the tide of international attention has receded.

"It's a lot easier to get to the podiums where I have to do my live shots," said Van Rosen.
On the once lively campus, the noise now comes from the clings and clangs of debate production crews. Miguel Higaradi was one of many construction crew members hard at work Saturday transforming Ole Miss back to normal.

"It's been exciting for me," he said. "It's been fun."

Crews say it took about three days to set everything up, and just one day to take it all down.
And now it's a moment in history for Oxford, Mississippi, and a memory of posterity for the people of Ole Miss.

"It's amazing. The two of them is going to be president here in a few months and leading our great nation," said Turner. "The fact that we were some part of that here at Ole Miss. It was a great day."

Click here to e-mail Kontji Anthony.