Texarkana falls under the spell of the Mistletoe Fair this next week, kicking off the winter holiday season with shopping and entertainment.
Held at the Four States Fairgrounds, this year's Mistletoe Fair has a cozy, festive theme: "A Down Home Christmas." Things kick off with the Fireside Fancy Preview Party Thursday, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., with food by Silver Star Smokehouse & Saloon and live music by The Moss Brothers.
A Down Home Brunch Friday, Nov. 16, features brunch and trivia from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., a private shopping hour from 11 a.m. to noon and food by Jeff Loving of Chef on the Run. The fair opens to the public at noon that day.
Thus, the fair itself runs from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18.
Children's events are ongoing all three days, including Story Time with Mrs. Claus, Santa Claus's Friday night arrival via horse-drawn wagon, Breakfast with Santa, Story Time with Santa and Santa's Workshops.
Jennifer Smith and Erica Ramage serve as co-chairs of the event. About the theme this year, Smith said this year's theme recalls cabins, flannel, deer and that sort of relaxing-by-the-fire feel.
"The preview party we do every year. Thursday night kicks off everything. Moss Brothers is performing there," Ramage said. Expect to see Girls Gone Wine attend once again, and the event includes complimentary beer and wine. "We'll have a silent auction, a casino."
They've added a putting competition, too, to the Thursday night festivities. It gives the guys something to do, Smith said. "Just a little something extra," she said. "We're open an hour later this year. It's from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. versus 7 p.m. to 10 p.m."
And once again, the preview party is a chance to shop early, Ramage said. Merchants will sell until 9 p.m. that night.
"We have family night Friday night, Santa's big arrival," Smith said. This year Santa is conveyed to the fairgrounds astride a carriage. Kids can get their photo taken with Santa, who's always arrived in style, Smith said.
"Saturday is mostly shopping and entertainment, so all the dance studios and singers and performers come throughout the day on Saturday and perform," Ramage said. It's the main shopping day, too. The day is packed with entertainment like the Texarkana Regional Chorale, Stacy Mayo, a drum ensemble and the Four States Fusion Chorus.
On Sunday, Mistletoe Fair stages a very special fashion show.
"Sunday we're doing a Strut the Mutt Pageant for dogs that are up for adoption," Ramage said. It's a pooch pageant with rescued dogs who can be adopted.
"They'll be dressed in their best. We've got all sorts of cute little dog costumes for them to wear," Smith said. It's like a runway show for the dog and they aim to find the dogs a home for Christmas, said Smith.
The vendors? Many of the popular favorites return. There's a new one that can create a 3-D figurine of someone with a 3-D printer. "It's really cool, I'm excited for that," Ramage said. From food to jewelry, gifts to fashions, meats to an actual Airstream trailer (Urban Leopard) that arrives, the vendors are a variety.
The Mistletoe Fair is the Junior League of Texarkana's main fundraiser for the year, benefiting its many community projects. "It easily can bring in over three figures every year," Smith said.
Junior League of Texarkana projects include Teacher Take Wing, Open Hearts Food Pantry, Packs for a Purpose, Shoes for the Soul, Clothes for a Cause and Spring into Reading.
(Admission to the Mistletoe Fair is $5 online or $7 at the door; $10 in advance or $12 at the door for a weekend pass. For event tickets, including the benefit drawing tickets, pricing and more information, check out JLTexarkana.org or call 870-772-9948.)