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This is the BONUS episode with Texarkana Santa! He made a special trip to Bryant, Arkansas to answer some kids’ tough questions.

“How did you become Santa?”
“Have you ever caught a kid on Christmas?”
“How many cookies do you eat in one night?”
“Who is your favorite reindeer?”
“Do you ever shave your beard?”
…and more!

Santa shared with each child their own “Elfin” name. He says that’s the only language they speak at the North Pole! So please welcome Sneezlewee (Shad), Lillywee (Elin), Lillywoo (Etta), Flunk (Warner), and Floober (Slater) to the Podcast!

Etta McClure interviewing Santa

You can listen to his interview with Farmers Bank & Trust Right at the Heart Podcast Host Cara Knight HERE.


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We’re feeling the magic of Christmas after this interview with the big man in red – that’s right, Santa Claus!

Santa Mark, aka Texarkana Santa, stopped by the Farmers Bank & Trust Bryant branch to share a little bit about his life leading up to this magical role. You’ll never guess his career prior to suiting up!

If you’re listening to this podcast episode with your children, skip on to our bonus episode HERE. Several Farmers Bank & Trust kids interview Santa, and some even share their “top secrets”!

The Royal Robe, as Santa Mark calls it.

The Details of Santa’s Suit

As I explain to the children, the boots have a lot of extra cushiony room on top of my toes because reindeer are really clumsy and they step on my toes a lot! They’re also extra-wide so they look and work like snow shoes, so I don’t fall on the snow and ice at the North Pole.

The glasses perched right at the tip of his nose are non-reflective, non-glare for pictures.
Snowflake designs are pressed into the red velvet vest and it’s fashioned together with gold snowflake buttons.

My reindeer bells are solid brass bells that are tuned. There are three different-sized bells on there so they produce a magical sound.

Santa Mark posing with some of the Bryant branch staff. L to R: Loan Assistant Emilee Neal, Market President Kent McClure, Retail Banker Kayla Ray, Content Specialist & Right at the Heart Podcast Host Cara Knight, Branch Manager Allie Stokes

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It’s without a doubt the most wonderful time of year and local businesses are looking festive! It’s a great time to take advantage of the free photo opportunities available in Texarkana and the surrounding areas.

Downtown Magic

Downtown Texarkana has kicked the holiday magic up a notch this year and there are festive things on every street. The business all along Broad Street have fun scenes painted on windows or decorated storefronts. It’s especially beautiful to stroll in the evening as the streetlights come on.

The Regional Arts Center and the ArtSpark outdoor art display have been updated with Christmas and holiday scenes, be sure to go snag a photo with your favorite piece of art. My daughter’s favorite is the saguaro with the holiday lights and my son’s favorite is the wolf.

Then, head on over to 1894 Gallery to grab some photos outside, and if they’re open, head on in to check them out while you’re there. It’s a phenomenal, ever-expanding art gallery featuring local and regional artists. Some of our favorite photos are the beautiful, red, phone booth out front and the antique garage door. Keep your eyes on the windows for a full display of nutcrackers in all different shapes, sizes, and styles.  For a bit of Polar Express whimsy, grab some photos on the railcar across the street.

Hold Onto Your Britches

From there, keep heading east in Arkansas for Crossties. You can’t miss the Christmas tree forest display outside of the event venue. Local businesses and residents can adopt a tree and decorate it according to a theme of their choosing. The trees are beautiful both day and night but pop over at dusk for some extra special holiday magic as the lights come on. A wonderful thing about this event is that the money raised from the event goes toward Hold Onto Your Britches Foundation, which helps bring Christmas trees to local children in need.

As you head back up State Line, don’t miss a stop at the recently renovated photographer’s island in front of the post office. You can’t miss the giant Christmas tree which splits the state line! The newly renovated area features new signs and maps, as well as Astroturf green space and parking spaces for food trucks.

Christmas on Main

As you are celebrating the holiday season, be sure to check out the new Christmas on Main by the Perot Theater. The event is on December 18th and will feature several Christmas movies, an ice skating rink, and a special appearance by the man himself, Santa Claus.

Wishing you and your family a truly wonderful holiday season!