Ford Center Brings LOU Community Together for Holiday Season

Holiday village offers variety of events for all through Dec. 13

The holiday village has returned to the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts again this year for the ninth annual gingerbread house display. The 32 gingerbread structures include houses made by Oxford High students with a 3D printer. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts is hosting a series of community events, including a holiday concert, storytime readings featuring special guests Mary Haskell and Patty Lewis, and a special visit from Santa Claus through Dec. 13 to celebrate the holidays.

Each year the Ford Center creates a holiday gingerbread village, and this year’s collection is the ninth annual gingerbread house display. This year’s village features some 32 gingerbread structures, including houses made by Oxford High School students with a 3D printer.

The holiday village opened just before the annual holiday concert on Dec. 1. It is free and open to the public, but since the village supports local food banks, visitors are encouraged to bring food items to donate.

Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director, said she looks forward to the holiday season each year because the events help give back to the community.

Mike Jones, a Calhoun Academy student, checks out the gingerbread castle built by another group after helping his classmates top off their gingerbread village. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

“I love just being in the village and seeing people’s reaction to the houses, especially the children,” Meacham said. “We host many school groups, as well as the story times and the visit from Santa, so we have lots of children visit the village. It’s such a pure reaction, full of the innocence of childhood.”

The holiday village is one of Meacham’s favorite traditions at the Ford Center, and she said it would not be possible without the help of the Oxford-Lafayette Countycommunity.

“(We hope) that it helps bring some holiday cheer to the people who visit, but what I really love about the holiday village is that this is truly a community effort,” Meacham said. “The Ford Center provides the space, some decorations and theatrical lighting, but the real work is done by the people who build the houses. Without them, there would be no village.”

UM alumna Haskell, a successful actress and singer and Miss Mississippi 1977, will read stories to preschoolers and toddlers at the Ford Center’s gingerbread village at 10:30 a.m. Thursday (Dec. 6). The event is free and open to the public.

Santa visits the holiday village from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 8). The event is free, and attendees are advised to bring their own cameras. The Oxford Civic Chorus will perform holiday songs and carols in the Ford Center lobby from 1 to 2 p.m.

Lewis, also a UM alumna, member of the Ford Center advisory board and a member of the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy, will read to elementary school children in the holiday village at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 13. The event is free.

For more information on the Ford Center’s series of holiday events, visit