‘Everything falling into place’ for tonight at Beauvoir

About two dozen volunteers and Beauvoir staffers are making last-hour preparations today to have everything in place and ready for tonight’s Festival of Trees at the Jefferson Davis Home and grounds on west beach Biloxi.

Tonight’s gala – which formally launches Christmas at Beauvoir – will begin at 6 p.m. and will feature carolling by the Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus and children from St. James Elementary School, food and beverages, a silent auction of 100 table-top Christmas trees decorated by a host of local businesses and groups, and appearances by Father Klaus in a model train exhibit workshop.

At 7 p.m. First Lady Deborah Bryant, wife of Gov. Phil Bryant and honorary chair of Christmas at Beauvoir, will flip a switch to illuminate thousands of lights that line the limbs of 100 of Beauvoir’s stately oaks.

The entire evening will launch a weekly celebration that will carry into January, with live entertainment, storytelling, carolling and a host of holiday family activities each Thursday through Sunday.

Today, though, much of the 52 acres of the national landmark property are a bevy of activity.

“Right now, the stage is being put up, signage is being put out on the grounds, the 100 three-foot tall trees are getting ready to be moved from the presidential library to the silent auction tents, and, to be honest, everything just seems to be falling right into place,” said organizer Andi Oustalet.

What you need to know if you go

Getting in: Tickets to the tonight’s kickoff gala — $50 per person, with proceeds to support Beauvoir – will be available at the door.

Parking: Free parking will be available in the Coliseum parking lot off Beauvoir Road, with free continuous shuttle service provided by the Biloxi Tour Train and Boomtown Casino.

Attire: Casual, Oustalet says, adding, “but remember, this is an outdoor event.”

Background: Tonight’s Festival of Trees and the ensuing Christmas at Beauvoir are fund-raising efforts to support Beauvoir, but organizers hope to see Christmas at Beauvoir become a huge fourth-quarter-of-the-year attraction for locals and visitors. To see a background that story was transmitted to media outlets in 12 states, click here.

Behind-the-scenes photos: Months of planning have gone into tonight’s gala and Christmas at Beavuoir. To see a collection of behind-the-scenes photos, click here.

See the trees: To see many of the trees that will be presented during this evening’s silent auction, click here.