OXFORD, Miss. – Graham cracker mansions with snow-frosted rooftops, candy castles, peppermint bridges and other feats of confectionery construction are on display through Dec. 16 at the University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.
The Ford Center hosts the annual Gingerbread Village. The much-anticipated holiday event attracts the university and Oxford community to both build the houses and also marvel at the intricate work that goes into the miniature candy houses and landscapes.
“This is an opportunity for civic and university groups to build a gingerbread house and have it on display for all to enjoy,” said Julia Aubrey, Ford Center director. “Each year, the imaginative themes and designs provide delight for all ages.”
The event began in 2010 with just four houses. This year, local groups including Holli’s Sweet Tooth, UM’s Willie Price Lab School, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and others have built some of the approximately 20 sweet structures on display.
The massive effort to set up the village isn’t intended just to delight those who walk through it. As part of the traditional giving spirit of the holiday season, attendees are encouraged to bring canned goods or make a donation to The Pantry or university’s food bank.
The village opened Thursday (Dec. 1) and will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. weekdays and also during Ford Center performances through Dec. 16. The full schedule of both weekday and weekend hours is available here.
On Monday (Dec. 5), the village will be open to visitors for an after party following the Oxford Lions Club Annual Christmas Parade, which begins at the Mid Town Shopping Center on North Lamar Boulevard at 6:30 p.m. The parade route should end at the Ford Center about 7:30 p.m.
And on Saturday (Dec. 10), the Gingerbread Village will host Santa Claus from 1 to 4 p.m., giving locals a chance to take their children’s pictures with the man from the North Pole.
“The Gingerbread Village is one of my favorite Ford Center events because it truly brings the community together,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “The house creators come from all parts of the community. There are families, individuals, businesses, schools and community groups that participate. They are very creative. I am always excited to see the designs.”