Making Memories

Making Memories

Screening of ‘Elf’ becoming holiday tradition


Courtesy Photo
Screening the film “Elf” has become a holiday tradition at the Faulkner Performing Arts Center in Fayetteville.

Nicole Cotton-Leachman is big on family traditions. She remembers fondly her childhood holidays, with dinner on Christmas Eve with one set of grandparents and dinner on Christmas Day with the other, waiting until dark to open gifts and caroling around the neighborhood for hours.

“It wasn’t the presents,” says Cotton-Leachman, who is managing director of the Faulkner Performing Arts Center on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville. “It was everybody coming in town and eating and being together — that time of year when the house was full and busy, and everyone was so excited.”

Creating a tradition at the fledgling arts center wasn’t on her agenda, but it happened in 2015, when she hosted a holiday screening of “Elf” starring Will Ferrell.

“It was really cool, because we had people bringing their kids and their grandkids, we had women coming together as a girls’ day out, we had older couples out on dates — it was completely different than what we expected! We ended up reaching all ages!”

Cotton-Leachman built on that success in 2016, inviting participants to come dressed in their favorite holiday costumes and donating nonperishable foods for the Jane B. Gearhart Full Circle Campus Food Pantry. This year’s screening, set for Dec. 9, will be even bigger — and she’s got an even better reason to be excited. This is her first Christmas making memories with her new husband, Henry Leachman.

“First, we went to the lighting of the square this year, which was so much fun! We also love having a sense of community, so we plan to bake holiday treats for all our neighbors with an invitation to a Christmas ugly sweater party at the home of the now Leachmans.”

But at Faulkner, events will start at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 9 for the 3 p.m. screening.

“We will have free face painting and a magician starting at 1:30 p.m.,” she says. “We are also very excited that Marco’s Pizza is joining our partnership this year for some artistic fun. Marco’s Pizza is bringing blank pizza boxes for families to take home and decorate. Once you have it decorated you can take it into the store for a large one-topping pizza for $7.99. Also you can enjoy a performance by a string quartet from the Arkansas Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

“Our crowd is diverse and we see people from all walks of life! We would love for the people in the community to come up and get involved. There’s plenty to do for the kids, good free date time, or just watching a now ‘holiday classic’ on the big screen.”



WHEN — 3 p.m. Dec. 9 with lobby activities beginning at 1:30 p.m.

WHERE — Faulkner Performing Arts Center in Fayetteville

COST — Donation of canned food for the Jane B. Gearhart Full Circle Campus Food Pantry

INFO — 575-5387

BONUS — Parking in the Stadium Parking Garage is free that day.


Categories: 'Tis the Season