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Many people who love a pumpkin spice latte quickly drop it for a peppermint mocha and their favorite blanket as soon as it turns Hallmark Movie season. Something about the storylines always captures our hearts and seems the perfect cozy backdrop to the holiday season.
What if we could entice the Arkansas Film Commission to host a production crew in some perfectly cozy Arkansas hometowns? We may not have all the snow, but we sure have the charm!
It might take a little imagination but go with me and let’s see if we can recreate our favorite holiday movie stories across the state of Arkansas.
A food vendor and an event organizer connect while cleaning up after closing. With no one else around, light figures come to life and create a magical wonderland that is perfectly romantic.
The competition is stiff this year in Arkansas Chocolate Gravy Cookoff. A returning champion and a newcomer with a fourth-generation family recipe are at odds. But the week of the competition, the catering plans fall through for the annual community dinner on the Square. So instead of the regular ham and sides, what if they served a biscuit bar with the winning recipe? It might just be the thing that turns competition into community!
A horse jockey and a bellhop connect when she arrives at the bathhouse. Over drinks at the lobby bar, he tells her historical stories of the gangsters and baseball players who originally inhabited this town. Will they finish their night in a brewery, a speakeasy, or a hidden gambling room across the street?
A city girl between jobs visits her aunt and works as a seasonal employee at the largest Christmas sale in the South. She meets someone through restocking Lux candles and holiday decorations. They stroll around the downtown streets and courthouse square after work and finish their evening with dinner on a riverboat.
An out-of-town journalist arrives to cover the November Governor’s race, and she spends her days discovering that all of Arkansas is not mountains and hillbillies like everyone says. After shopping and touring many highlights around town, a Pinnacle Mountain sunrise with an “I told you so” moment changes everything. Her story becomes less about the election and more about the gem she found in the Capitol City.
Set in a historical period, a Jewish girl and a German immigrant’s son connect at the local cafe. She works in the doctor’s office caring for soldiers while he fulfills orders in the mercantile. Can they break faith to build love?
It’s a perfect match – she is a rockabilly singer, and his grandpa played the drums for Elvis as they toured along the Rock ‘n Roll Highway 67. Together, they revisit the night clubs along the route, the blues bayous, take dancing classes together at the Entertainer’s Hall of Fame and drive back roads in a turquoise Thunderbird to the old Dyess colony.
Two female parade organizers from rival colleges are forced to work together to organize the hometown Christmas through their planning struggles, they form an incredible friendship that benefits this booming town.
Serving together in manure-filled mud at the Heifer Ranch is not how these two expected to meet. But they both learn while working together to change and learn a culture, you can change your heart.
An investor arrives to check out a local hunting gear company. The cute girl at the duck lodge catches his attention and keeps him coming back to visit while he brokers his deal, only to discover in an overheard phone call that her dad is the one he’s been meeting.
Scott – Sunsets bring in the heart flames around small-town traditions in any town across the delta where lavender fields, rice paddies, and cotton production lead the way. A chance encounter happens at the hot chocolate stand on the town’s special night, honoring first responders, veterans, and cancer survivors.
A researcher from Wyoming arrives to study a rare migrating bird and meets a gal at the Elk Research Center. They spend time together discovering waterfalls, Hawksbill Crag, and he surprises her with a helicopter ride to an unforgettable cave.
A visit to Turpentine Creek turns into love for a writer and a photographer. One has come for blog photos, and the other to share a behind-the-scenes story of the Miracle of Christmas. They stay in the Safari Lodges and meet over coffee at the communal firepit, then spend the weekend exploring the enchanting town of Eureka Springs
A greedy shopkeeper learns the magic of a small town while trying to keep her store afloat during the holiday. Aviators, cyclists, entrepreneurs, hometown heroes, and out-of-town visitors bring hints and reminders like the ghosts of Christmas.
Whatever makes this time of year feel magical for you, make sure you get out and experience Arkansas. Recreate your favorite holiday memories and make new ones with the ones you love. And never overlook the possibilities all around you!
Other ways to inspire you to get in the holiday mood
Photos used with permission from Arkansas Parks, Heritage and Tourism.
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