OXFORD — It’s a scene out of Mayberry, right here in George Pierce’s garage.
That’s the filling station, the Friendship area resident said, pointing to the miniature white shack with Wally’s written over the door. Beside it, find Gomer Pyle.
There’s a tiny Wal-Mart just up the street from the station, a Home Depot nearby. Across town, a carnival’s amusements spin.
This is Pierce’s Christmas village: Orderly rows spread out over eight plastic tables in his two-car garage, scattered with white cotton fluff and glitter, windows glowing, figurines skating and hunting and sawing logs.
“It’s something me and my wife do together,” Pierce, now retired and in his 60s, said Wednesday. They’ve built the display together for 16 years, he and his wife, Vonda, though in recent years he’s taken on more of the work.
“It takes about three and a half weeks to set up,” Pierce said. “My brother thinks I’m ridiculous.”
The village is complete with flickering campfires and grills; a McDonald’s restaurant from early on in the chain’s existence; a fountain with running water and multicolored lights.
“We try to get it as realistic as imagination will allow,” he said.
The couple picked up the ornamental buildings, features and figurines different places. They often bought them, or had family members give them as gifts.
“Everybody likes to help,” Pierce said, “except when it comes time to put it together.”
For Pierce, always a collector and a tinkerer, keeping an eye out for them replaced another hobby — collecting comics.
It’s not a cheap hobby, though. Pierce said he could spend $80 or $90 on larger pieces, like the carousel. Trees for the tiny forest he wants to add would probably run him $200.
He tries to have the village up before the first of December each year.
Older members of his family take video of the display; his grandchildren “like to see with their hands, and not with their eyes,” he joked.