Cinematical's Eric Snider highlights the reasons to support your local film fest. If you're a filmmaker and you're not attending (or volunteering for) your local event, you're missing out on an education in the festival world. You're also missing a critical network of local industry types who can help your own film when you're ready to get it out on the circuit.
Smaller often means nicer, friendlier, more hospitable. The Oxford festival is small enough that parties can be held in local benefactors' beautiful homes, with food provided by local caterers and chefs. (That stereotype about Southerners being good cooks? Sweet merciful cholesterol, it's true.)
The next six weeks or so round out the prime Spring festival season. The Dallas (where I am now), Florida, Sarasota, Sunscreen, Phoenix, and Wisconsin festivals are happening now. Coming up are Atlanta, IFF Boston, Newport Beach, Santa Cruz, Tribeca, and too many others to name here. (OK, so these aren't all small regional fests, but they deserve your love too.) Check your local arts calendar to see when your local fest begins. Also check out this blog entry from the Oxford Film Fest staff on regional festivals they'll be visiting soon.