Do you possess the energetic cheeriness for Christmas that it would take to "spread boundless joy, happiness and holiday spirit" citywide? If so, you are invited to audition to become El Dorado's new holiday ambassador -- an elf. The Diamond Agency, a local advertising agency and public relations firm, "is thrilled to announce an exciting opportunity for individuals who are ready to ignite the magic of Christmas throughout the city," according to a press release. Don Hale, president and owner of the Diamond Agency, said the firm is partnering with several other community groups and organizations -- including the El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce, Main Street El Dorado and the Downtown Business Association -- to develop the idea for the new character. Hale said the El Dorado elf will help celebrate the holiday season and promote the city's 2023 holiday theme, "Oh, What Fun it is To ...", a phrase that was purposely left open-ended to allow residents to fill in the blank with their favorite Christmas memories and thoughts on what the holiday means to them. "That's what we do.
We're a creative company and our job is to promote El Dorado and we're always looking for new ways to do that," Hale explained. The idea for the elf character sprang from numerous appearances by Santa at local holiday events, he said. "I noticed in past years, we've had a series of different Santas appear in El Dorado and we wanted to brand our own elf, one of Santa's helpers, to be here for the holiday season," said Hale. "Our creative team at the Diamond Agency said that we need a mascot.
Sports teams have mascots. Keep Arkansas Beautiful has a mascot. Why not a mascot for El Dorado for the holiday season?" he continued, referring to Otto the Otter, the mascot for the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission The holiday elf will be a paid position and duties will entail making appearances at community events throughout the holiday season -- including the Downtown Holiday Lighting Ceremony, the El Dorado Christmas Parade, Santa on the Square and others. "We're looking for someone who would probably show up at children's activities and probably hand out things children would like to have, tell stories or sing songs," Hale said.
"You might take a (holiday) carriage ride with the elf or look up and see the elf conducting a (holiday, miniature) train ride downtown or go to the movies and see the elf serving popcorn at the concession stand." He said the character may also be available for cameo appearances at private events, such as company Christmas parties. "We're still developing the character and we still won't know what all the character will do until we hold auditions and select an elf," said Hale. This is the third consecutive year that the Diamond Agency has partnered with other local organizations to develop a promotional campaign to market Christmas in El Dorado to area residents and other communities around the region. In 2021 and 2022, the agency teamed up with the DBA, MSE and the Murphy Arts District on the "Merry and Bright" and "Best Christmas Ever!" holiday campaigns, respectively. The DBA and MSE reported that the joint marketing effort paid off and resulted in an increase of visitors from the Ark-La-Tex region during the holiday season and strong, fourth-quarter sales for downtown merchants. In 2021, the city of El Dorado was featured in the annual "Spirit of Christmas" series that is produced by Shreveport, Louisiana, TV station KTBS. Each year, KTBS spotlights five Ark-La-Tex communities and their respective holiday activities. Beth Brumley, executive director of MSE, said the 2021 broadcast drew an influx of visitors from Shreveport and East Texas. Last year, the groups expanded the holiday marketing campaign to include Monroe, Louisiana, and Central Arkansas. The Diamond Agency and the community groups are looking forward to another successful and merry holiday season in El Dorado, with an extra spark -- the holiday elf -- to, again, "help ignite the magic of Christmas throughout the city." Hale noted that the El Dorado Advertising and Promotion Commission is helping to underwrite the "Oh, What Fun it is To ..." campaign, as the commission has done with previous holiday promotional campaigns. He added that city officials are fully on board with the idea to create a holiday ambassador for El Dorado. "We cherish the holiday season in El Dorado and we are eager to find someone who embodies the magic of Christmas and can bring even more warmth and happiness to our community," Mayor Paul Choate said. Hale made similar statements regarding the holiday elf. "I'm hopeful that this is a tradition that will start and we'll see it continue year after year -- anything we can do to remind people there are others out here making Christmas a magical time," he said. Details Auditions for the holiday elf will be held at 2 p.m., Sept.
23, at the South Arkansas Arts Center, 110 E. Fifth. Auditioners may be asked to read from a script or sing a song. They may list any acting or entertainment experience, including singing, dancing, playing an instrument, etc. The elf will need to be available for work from Nov. 15 until Dec. 15. Those who are interested in the position must also be willing to color their hair or wear a wig. Audition forms are available at SAAC. For more information, call The Diamond Agency at 870-862-1010 or SAAC at 870-862-5474.