Holiday Village Returns to Ford Center

Seasonal events include gingerbread houses, Santa's mailbox, Beach Boys concert

The Ford Center’s 2021 Holiday Village features 16 gingerbread-and-sweets houses crafted by Oxford-area builders. The display, which is free to the public, is up through Dec. 17. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi is helping everybody get into a holiday mood with its annual Holiday Village, a Beach Boys concert and story time for children.

The Holiday Village display runs through Dec. 17. This year’s display features 16 gingerbread houses, a Letters to Santa mailbox, a working train and a table celebrating December holiday traditions.

Admission is free, but the Holiday Village supports local food banks. Visitors are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to donate.

Besides houses and other structures, the Ford Center’s Holiday Village features whimsical landscapes filled with mouthwatering treats. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

“This will be the 12th year of the Gingerbread Village,” said Julia Aubrey, Ford Center director. “It has grown each year, and we are thrilled with all of the entries we have. In a way, it’s the Ford Center’s holiday card to the community.”

The houses are created by participants from the Oxford community and showcase their creative handiwork. Builders include the Oxford High School Superiors, Willie Price Lab School, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and local families.

Normal hours for the village are 1-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays and noon-4 p.m. Sundays. In conjunction with the Beach Boys’ performance of “Holiday Harmonies,” the village will be open from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 11). The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Guest reader Patty Lewis is scheduled to present story time at 1 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 9) and 10:30 a.m. Saturday (Dec. 11). A member of the advisory council, Lewis and her husband, Will, are longtime supporters of the Ford Center. She will read a Christmas story for children as Mrs. Claus.

The Beach Boys are set to perform at the Ford Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 11).

“The Ford Center is particularly pleased to offer the Beach Boys’ ‘Holiday Harmonies’ concert as part of our Pop Series,” said Kate Meacham, director of marketing. “With more than five decades of touring under their belts, the Beach Boys have performed more concerts than any major rock band in history. This will be their first time performing in Oxford.”

The Beach Boys have sold more than 100 million records worldwide and scored 36 Top 40 hits, the most by any American band. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members also were honored at the 2001 Grammy Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Local gingerbread makers said they are thrilled to once again participate in the festivities.

“My daughter and I did our first village 2014,” said Whitney Vinson, of Oxford. “We both like to make art and create. We have done one each year since, so this year is our eighth.

I think that we both love the tradition of working on them together and brainstorming ideas.”

Besides houses, the Ford Center’s Holiday Village includes some local landmarks, all made from gingerbread, cookies and other sweet treats. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council contributes to the Gingerbread Village to spread cheer and the love of art to the LOU community.

“We work on the village as a family and let the kids help and create,” said Meghan Gallagher, YAC outreach and education coordinator. “It’s a fun way to prepare for Christmas and get into the spirit of the season.”

University policy requires all individuals to wear masks in indoor public spaces, including the Ford Center. The new policy is consistent with public health guidance from the CDC and Mississippi State Department of Health.

For more information and to purchase concert tickets, visit or call 662-915-7411.