Visit Santa at his new house in the NWA Mall + some insider scoop!

NWA Mall, Dec. ad

We lovelovelove the new holiday decor at the Northwest Arkansas Mall.

The new “holiday house” makes for a great background for photos with Santa this year. You’ll find Santa here seven days a week through Christmas Eve (see hours above):

nwa mall, santa's house

nwa mall, santa's house cropped

Photo packages start at $22 and some will include free Shutterfly gift cards. Kids who visit Santa will also receive a free holiday book.

CLICK HERE to jump over to the mall’s website. Like their Facebook page HERE and stay up to date on all the holiday sales going on at the mall during this holiday season. The mall is a great one-stop shop for Christmas gifts.

Insider scoop: Did you know that the Northwest Arkansas Mall has an annual Breakfast with Santa event? This year the mall is supporting the Boys & Girls Club of Fayetteville. Get your tickets early, before they’re all gone. You can buy tickets at the Boys & Girls Club on Rupple Road in Fayetteville.

breakfast with santa

Another insider tip: The mall has an adorable (interactive) “Santa’s Village” feature on the website right now. Kids can dress an elf, make their own holiday e-card, work jigsaw puzzles, play memory games, color picture pages, catch candy in the Candy Shop — and more. Just click on the door of the village shop you want to explore.

santa's villageHere’s a partial list of stores at the NWA Mall that will help you with getting that Christmas list knocked out:

  • See’s Candies
  • Dillard’s
  • Razorback Shop
  • JC Penney
  • Sear’s
  • Melody’s Choices
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Francesca’s
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Bath and Body Works
  • Candy Craze
  • Gap
  • Gymboree
  • Justice

CLICK HERE to see a full list of stores at the NWA Mall.

Marathon Mama: An easy guide for beginning runners

HogMR2015Logo

Guest Post by Beth Gallini

Have you ever wanted to start running or had an itch to sign up for a race? Now is the perfect time!

The Hogeye Marathon is March 29th and we’re here to help you busy moms who are interested in running or want to train for a race. We’ll guide you through getting started and answer your questions so you can have a successful training cycle and a great race.

The Hogeye is a local non-profit organization that hosts a marathon, half-marathon, 4-person relay, corporate challenge, and 5K (and a kids marathon too!) each year.  It is made possible by volunteers and all proceeds go back into the local community. Race day is approaching and it’s time to put a plan in place for your training!

You may be asking Why. Why should I start running? What does everyone love about it? And isn’t it bad for your knees?

It’s not actually bad for your knees – that’s an old wives’ tale! Aside from the obvious reasons people start running (increasing activity, losing weight), there are many other reasons so many people fall in love with running:

beth gallini

Beth and her two babies

◊ Clear your head and relieve stress – Whether work is busy, you are going through a tough time, or you have a problem to sort out, going for a run is a great way to clear your head.

◊ Gain energy – You’ll feel more energetic and reap the rewards of endorphins.

◊ Give yourself “me” time – By taking care of yourself and giving yourself time do something that is enjoyable, you will be a better mom and better able to take care of those who need you.

◊ Achieve goals – Running provides endless opportunities to set goals, work towards them, achieve them, and then continuously repeat that cycle. This fosters feelings of pride and accomplishment and improves your self-esteem.

◊ Set a good example – As a mom, you know your kids are observing you and learning from you. As a runner, you are a great role model for your kids – you are active, taking care of your health, following through with a commitment, and trying new things.

◊ Meet new people – Runners are fun people and they like to be social!

Feeling a little lost? Here are some tips for getting started:

◊ Get fitted for shoes – This is my biggest piece of advice!  Don’t buy the shoes your sister loves, don’t use the old tennis shoes in your closet, don’t buy the prettiest shoes, and don’t go to a big-box outdoor store.  Go to a specialty running store, be prepared to spend around $100, and get fitted for the right shoes for you.  Not having the right shoes is a leading cause of injury and, if you are injured, you won’t be able to run.

◊ Don’t worry about pace or mileage – As a beginner, it is easy to compare yourself to others. Everyone was a beginner at one point and the important thing is you are out there.  You may want to start by tracking your runs by time and not pay attention to how far or how fast you run.

◊ Start with a run/walk rotation – You can condition your body and learn to run further by setting up a run-walk-run rotation.  Perhaps start by running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute and adjust the time you do each as your body adapts to running.

◊ Don’t do too much too soon – It can be exciting to start something new; however doing too much too soon can lead to injury.  Start with shorter distances, don’t run on consecutive days, and slowly increase your mileage.

◊ Follow a plan – Beginner training plans are readily available online or you can sign up for group training at Fleet Feet in Fayetteville for the marathon and half marathon.

◊ Have fun – Remember to have fun!  Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and keep running enjoyable

Be sure to register before the price goes up on December 31st and encourage your friends and family who aren’t running to volunteer – there’s something for everyone.

Beth Gallini runningAbout Beth: Beth is a stay-at-home mom, marathon runner, and the blogger behind RUNNING around my kitchen. She is a certified running coach through the Road Runners Club of America and offers personalized online coaching services for runners of all levels of experience. She and her husband adopted two boys who are a month apart and just celebrated their first birthday. Beth serves on the board for the Hogeye Marathon and is interested in helping other moms with their training and answering any questions you have. Be social, connect with other Hogeye runners, and let them hear from you by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! #hogeyemarathon

Northwest Arkansas Holiday Events List + Calendar: December 2014

nwa holiday events art

December 1st

Rogers Christmas Parade

A community event featuring floats, marching bands, and walking units. Nearly 100 floats, marching bands, decorated cars, scouts, dogs, choirs and kids take part every year — each covered with bright Christmas lights. The parade celebrates “Holidays Around the World” to showcase the beautiful traditions of the many cultures of people who call Rogers home.

Date: Dec. 1

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Fifth and Poplar, Rogers

More info: Click here

December 5th

A christmas story, rltA Christmas Story

Date: Dec. 5-14

Time: Varies

Location: Rogers Little Theatre

More info: Click here

The Little Craft Show

Date: Dec. 6-7

Time: Varies

Location: The Town Center, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

little craft show

December 6th

Skating School Open House

At the Jones Center Ice Arena, for all ages. Everyone is invited to bring a friend. FREE Skating, holiday music, hot chocolate, door prizes. Information on all of the fun activities at The Jones Center. Holiday Skating Exhibitions. Santa Claus will make an appearance.

Date: Dec. 6

Time: 9-10 a.m.

Location: The Jones Center Ice Arena

More info: Click here

Princess Winter Wonderland Brunch

trike theatre brunchDress up and join Anna & Elsa as they share stories of far away lands at Trike Theatre’s Princess Winter Wonderland Brunch! Delicious food, crafts and once in a lifetime photo opportunity to be sure to create an experience your little prince or princess will never forget. All proceeds benefit Trike Theatre’s education scholarship fund.

Date: Dec. 6

Time: 9:30 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.

Location: Tavola Trattoria, Bentonville

More info: Click here

Mercy O Night Divine Charity Ball

She has been in the national spotlight turning heads (and chairs) since first auditioning for NBC’s The Voice, and on Saturday, December 6th, Danielle Bradbery will charm hearts in Northwest Arkansas at Mercy Health Foundation’s 21st Annual O’Night Divine Charity Ball presented by Walmart/Sam’s Club along with the Lee and Linda Scott Family.  Bradbery, the Season 4 winner of the blockbuster vocal competition, is the spotlight performer at the premier holiday event benefiting the work of Mercy and the patients and families they serve.  An evening like no other, attendees will also enjoy many laughs provided by stand-up comedian, Ryan Hamilton, who has endeared comedy lovers and impressed industry insiders with his observational and sarcastic humor.

Date: Dec. 6

Time: 6 p.m.

More info: Click here

Breakfast with Santa

Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming to town!  They want to share a special breakfast with you at the ACO.  They have lots of fun treats planned for children of all ages including a yummy breakfast, a personal visit and photo opportunity with Santa, decorating gingerbread cookies with Mrs. Claus, creating special Christmas crafts and more.

Date: Dec. 6

Time: Seatings at 8:30 a.m., 9:15 a.m. or 10 a.m.

Location: Arts Center of the Ozarks, Springdale

More info: Click here

Santa’s Workshop

santa's workshopCost: $20 and is best for kids ages 4 – 10. Event entry includes six craft stations, a visit with Santa, an opportunity to make holiday cards for the patients of Arkansas Children’s Hospital, child ID cards provided by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, cookies and hot chocolate. This is a NWA Circle of Friends for Arkansas Children’s Hospital event. The Circle of Friends is a network of passionate, dedicated volunteers providing care, love and hope for the children and families served by Arkansas Children’s Hospital. All proceeds raised at Circle of Friends events go directly to the hospital.

Date: Dec. 6

Time: 9-11 a.m.

Location: St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 2898 S. 48th St., Springdale

More info: Click here

Children’s Christmas Train

Enjoy the fun and festivities aboard the Children’s Christmas Train! Come early and enjoy a winter wonderland of games and activities. Special treats and surprises await you! Runs Springdale to Johnson.

Date: Dec. 6-8

Time: Varies

Location: 306 E. Emma Springdale

More info: Click here

Battle of Prairie Grove Reenactment

Date: Dec. 6-7

Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: Prairie Grove Battlefield

More info: Click here

December 12th

Mythbusters: Behind the Myths

mythbustersDate: Dec. 12

Time: 4 and 8 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

December 13th

Bentonville Christmas Parade

The Bentonville Christmas Parade host thousands of participants and brings over 10,000 people into downtown to celebrate the holiday season. Participants from the area compete for best float and best walking group. The theme is “A Storybook Christmas”.

bville christmas paradeDate: Dec. 13

Time: 11 a.m.

Location: Downtown Bentonville

More info: Click here

Christmas in New York City (then skate with Santa!)

Annual figure skating Christmas Show. Watch talented skaters from the Ozark Figure Skating Club skating to all your favorite Christmas music. There will be 2 shows, 1pm and 5pm. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children. They can be purchased at the door the day of the event or the following dates: Dec. 2 4-7 p.m., Dec. 6 from 9-10 a.m. and Dec. 9 from 4-6 p.m. After the show, you are invited to skate with Santa and the cast members. There will also be sleigh rides on the ice, door prizes and hot chocolate.

Date: Dec. 13

Time: 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Location: 922 East Emma Ave., Springdale

More info: Click here or email Robin raprea@jonesnet.org for tickets.

A Very SoNA Christmas (Christmas Concert)

Symphony of Northwest Arkansas presents its Christmas Concert under the baton by Maestro Paul Haas on Saturday, December 13 at Walton Arts Center’s Baum Walker Hall in Fayetteville. Featuring vocal soloists, the SoNA Singers and regional choirs. Visit  for ticketing information and complete season lineup.

Date: Dec. 13

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

Visit Santa on the Caboose

A community event in Frisco Park, First and Walnut Streets.

Date: Dec. 13

Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Location: Frisco Park, Rogers

More info: Click here

December 14th

The Snowman, A Family Concert

Guaranteed to get your whole family in the mood for Christmas. Holiday music for children of all ages and a special screening of the heart-warming animated film, The Snowman, with live orchestral soundtrack.

sonasnowmantnewDate: Dec. 14

Time: 3 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Drop off a letter to Santa in Rogers at Frisco station? Other places?

December 19th

Moscow Classical Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Back for its fourth consecutive season, the beloved holiday tradition The Nutcracker is a must-see for the whole family! The venerable Moscow Classical Ballet gives a stunning presentation of Tchaikovsky’s classic Christmas ballet, featuring Russia’s finest dancers and all the beautiful scenery and costumes you’ve come to expect – audiences of all ages will be absolutely enchanted. Come see for yourself why this brilliant dance troupe has won numerous gold medals from international competitions and awards from the esteemed Paris Academy of Dance. The holidays simply aren’t complete without experiencing this live performance!

Date: Dec. 19-21

Time: 2 &  7 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

December 23rd

The Polar Express (movie at Walton Arts Center)

Polar_TNEWMovie description: Directed by Robert Zemeckis and based on children’s book by Chris Van, The Polar Express tells the story of Billy (Hayden McFarland), who longs to believe in Santa Claus but finds it quite difficult to do so, what with his family’s dogged insistence that all of it, from the North Pole, to the elves, to the man himself, is all just a myth. This all changes, however, on Christmas Eve, when a mysterious train visits Billy in the middle of the night, promising to take him and a group of other lucky children to the North Pole for a visit with Santa. The train’s conductor (Tom Hanks) and the other passengers help turn Billy’s crisis-in-faith into a journey of self-discovery

Date: Dec. 23

Time: 6 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Through Christmas Eve

Santa at the NWA Mall

Date: Nov. 21 through Christmas Eve

Time: Varies

Location: NWA Mall, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

NWA Mall, Dec. ad

Eureka Springs Events

The grounds of the Great Passion Play will be lit up with thousands of lights as well during “Experience the Light” which runs on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8:30pm through December 21st.   Besides the lights, they will feature Christmas music in the Great Hall and a live nativity with actors and animals in the Smith Chapel.  Admission is by donation.

The largest Snow Village and Train Exhibit in the South will be on display every weekend at the Gaskin’s Switch Village at 2051 E. Van Buren.  Presented by the Eureka Springs Historical Museum, the display takes you back to a 1930′s to 1950′s landscape of small town America. It is comprised of over 300 buildings, including three ‘town squares’ depicting businesses of the era, three Lionel 0 scale trains, a Lionel 0 scale trolley, and numerous other vehicles and accessories of this time.

The 48th Annual Silver Tea is hosted by the women of St. James’ Episcopal Church, Eureka Springs.  On Thurs., Dec. 4th from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., the dining room of the historic Crescent Hotel will be transformed by seasonal decorations, hostesses in period costume and elegant tea tables with heirloom silver pieces displayed on stunning lace tablecloths.  A mouth-watering variety of tea sandwiches and cookies will be served in addition to coffee and tea.  Admission is by donation.

Miss Arkansas 2014 will serve as Grand Marshal of the Annual Christmas Parade scheduled for Friday December 5th at 6 p.m.  The theme for the 2014 parade is “Light the World.”  The parade is staged in the historic downtown district and is surrounded by great shops and boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.

On Saturday, December 6th, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Eureka Springs Preservation Society hosts the 32nd Annual Eureka Springs Christmas Tour of Homes.   Ten locations will be participating in this year’s tour, giving guests a glimpse of a bygone era.   All stops on the self-guided tour will be lavishly decorated for the season with Victorian attired docents at each site to relate the history of each home.  Tickets can be purchased at the Eureka Springs Historical Museum or Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce.

The Alliance of Better Bed & Breakfasts in Eureka Springs will host their annual Sweet Treats Cookie Tour from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 13th.   Visit 8 different bed and breakfasts sampling their favorite cookie and candy recipes.

Kids of all ages can see Santa in Basin Spring Park during several events. In December, he’ll be at the park on Saturday, December 6th and 13th from 1-3 p.m.  for photos, a scavenger hunt, games, and goodies for the whole family.

CLICK HERE to see the calendar of Christmas events in Eureka Springs.

Northwest Arkansas Calendar of Events: November 2014

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Holiday Open House (Siloam Springs)

Main Street Siloam Springs’ annual Holiday Open House. Merchants will be open and offering refreshments, door prizes, and the first look at their holiday merchandise.

Date: Sunday, Nov. 2

Time: 1-5 p.m.

Location: Downtown Siloam

More info: Click here

Crystal Bridges events

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s groundbreaking exhibition, State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now, has gained national attention, bringing together the artwork of 102 artists from all over the country. State of the Art will be on view through January 19, highlighting the artists’ voices with engagement opportunities including workshops, art talks, and panel discussions. For a full list of State of the Art programs, click here.

More info: See the full calendar of Crystal Bridges events here: website.

NWA Boutique Show

Mamas, we want to see you there! We’ll have a Motherlode booth with an awesome giveaway — plus a cardboard cut-out of Olaf for you and the kids to pose with. This is an amazing shoppertunity to mark off everyone on your Christmas list!

nwa boutique show adDate: Nov. 7-8

Time: Varies

Location: Holiday Inn Convention Center

More info: Click here

Veteran’s Day Parade

Annual Veteran’s Day Parade at 2:30pm around the Fayetteville Square.  The parade will feature military and emergency vehicles, soldiers of all ages, motorcycles, bands, and much more.  At 1:30 there will be special activities for children and a meet and greet with our WWII and Korean Veterans. In case of rain, all special activities will be indoors at the square with the Veterans.  Grand marshalls this year are WWII and Korean Veterans.

Date: Sunday, Nov. 9

Time: 1:30, activities for children and a meet and greet with WWII and Korean Veterans; parade 2:30 p.m.

Location: Fayetteville Square

More info: Click here

Central Rogers MOPS Craft Fair

Lots of vendors to shop, door prizes and a cookie walk with dozens of different cookies at $6 a pound. At Central United Methodist in Rogers.

mops craft fairDate: Nov. 15

Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Central United Methodist Church, Rogers

More info: Click here

Pennyroyals, Persimmons and Pawpaws

Date: Nov. 19

Time: Noon

Location: Shiloh Museum, Springdale

More info: Click here

The Rink at Lawrence Plaza (New this  year: “Theme” nights!)

The Rink will have Wild Wardrobe Wednesdays, including Nov. 26th superheroes and Dec. 10th Disney’s Frozen. Click here to see all the themes.

Date: Nov. 22-Jan. 19

Time: Varies

Location: Bentonville, at the corner of Northeast A

More info: Click here

21st Annual Lights of the Ozarks

Enjoy the amazing winter wonderland of lights on the Downtown Square beginning Friday, November 21st at 6 p.m. with the Lighting Night parade. Nightly carriages and pony rides, fresh hot chocolate and festive holiday music make the Lights of the Ozarks an event that cannot be missed. The romantic and breathtaking display of a half-million twinkling lights is cherished by the locals and visitors alike that stroll or drive through the Lights of the Ozarks each year. Each year Fayetteville Parks and Recreation workers spend over 2,000 hours decorating the Downtown Square with 450,000 lights.

Date: Nov. 21-Dec. 31

Time: 6 p.m. parade starts.

Location: Fayetteville Square

More info: Click here

lights of the ozarks

Lighting of the Bentonville Square

Holiday market at 2 p.m. Live holiday music, 4 p.m. Lighting ceremony, 6 p.m. Christmas tree lighting at the rink, 6:30 p.m.

Date: Nov. 22

Time: Events start at 2 p.m.

Location: Bentonville Square

More info: Click here

Elf the Musical

“Endearingly goofy!” says USA Today of this delightful Broadway musical for all ages. Elf the Musical is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole where he is welcomed into Santa’s household. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s size and poor toy-making skills cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to find his birth father and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. Based on the beloved 2003 New Line Cinema hit, Elf the Musical “is happy enough for families, savvy enough for city kids and plenty smart for adults!” says Variety magazine. Don’t miss this modern-day Christmas classic that’s sure to help you embrace your inner elf!

Elf_TNEWDate: Nov. 25-26

Time: Varies

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Green Friday

In an effort to help you reconnect with the things important in your life, Hobbs will be hosting a day of hikes, nature crafts, and family fun programming. Contact the park for a list of programming. Free.

Date: Nov. 28

Time: All day

Location: Hobbs State Park Visitor’s Center, Rogers

More info: Click here

2nd Annual Experience the Light at The Great Passion Play (Live Nativity)

Christmas Festival with Live Nativity. Drive-through light display and Christmas Carols with hot chocolate and cookies in the Great Hall. The last weekend of November through first 3 weeks of December on Fridays and Saturdays.

great passion playDate: Nov. 28-Dec. 20 (Fridays and Saturdays)

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Location: Eureka Springs

More info: Click here

Christmas Parade of the Ozarks

Date: Nov. 29

Time: 6 p.m.

Location: Parsons Stadium, Springdale. Starts at the rodeo grounds and goes through downtown Springdale (Emma Avenue).

More info: Click here

Holiday Hoopla Kickoff, Rogers

A community event to kick off the holiday season in downtown Rogers. Featuring the lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree and downtown decorations, great food, and live music.

holiday hooplaDate: Nov. 29

Time: 5 p.m.

Location: Downtown

More info: Click here

Holiday Drop and Shop Event!

Parents can go shop while Abrakadoodle of NWA helps your kids get into the Holiday Spirit! Abrakadoodle artists will work on specially designed Holiday art projects with the kids, who should dress for mess. Parents should send a snack(s), but lunch will be provided. Cost: $25 Children ages 4 to 12 (Limited class size)

Date: Saturday, November 29, 2014

abrakadoodleTime: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Location: Rogers Activity Center, 315 West Olive Street Rogers, AR 72756

Register here: http://ar-rogers.civicplus.com/855/4302/Holiday-Drop-and-Shop

Gardenland Express

Gardenland Express will open on November 30 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and then continue on Saturdays, December 6 and 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Sundays, December 7 and 14 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

This year, visitors will be able to enjoy an evening of holiday lights and fun on Friday, December 5, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Each Gardenland session will include a winter wonderland display of model trains in the Event Hall, refreshments and visits with Santa. Northwest Arkansas Model Train Club is providing the trains for this special event.

Date: Nov. 30, Dec. 6,7,13 & 14

Time: See above for specific times

Location: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

More info: Click here

Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks Christmas Train Exhibition

Mall-O-Ween offers safe, fun environment for trick-or-treaters on October 31st!

nwa mall fall matters

Every year, the Northwest Arkansas Mall offers a safe, fun environment for kids to score some candy, treat bags – and maybe even win a prize for their costume!

Mall-O-Ween is on Oct. 31 from 6-8 p.m. Trick-or-treating at the Mall-O-Ween is a tradition that lots of local moms enjoy with their kids every year. We’re big on traditions and love a reliable event like this. The Mall-O-Ween has been going on for over two decades.

And a bonus? Bedford Camera & Video will be at Mall-O-Ween taking FREE photos of your little pumpkins! (Plus Halloween is on a Friday night this year. Even more fun, knowing you don’t have to get up early for school and work the next day!)

Here’s our list of Top 5 Things We Love About the Northwest Arkansas Mall’s Mall-O-Ween:

1.candy craze Candy and goody bags from the merchants. They give the good stuff :)

2. Come rain, shine, drizzle or cold temps, the mall always offers a controlled climate.

3. Moms can get a little shopping done while the kids are cheerful and entertained (see the above two points).

4. Kids 12 and under can participate in a Halloween costume contest. Get rewarded for all the hard work you put into that costume, mamas! Prizes are awarded to the top three in each age group, based on originality and creativity. (Click here to see the age ranges and WHEN the contest will be for the various age groups.)

5. It’s safe, y’all. If you don’t like your kids going door to door at strangers’ houses, you’ll enjoy the experience of trick-or-treating in a brightly lit space where the kids will receive treats from nice store reps. Or go out earlier in the neighborhood, then wrap up the trick-or-treating at the mall!

Click here to visit the NWA Mall’s website for more details about Mall-O-Ween and be sure to like them on Facebook so you can be updated on sales and promotions throughout the year.

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