ABA Banking Journal - December 2010 - (Page 56)
First person | reiD anD cinDy sharp
Bringing Santa to Bastrop
Texas bank couple and elves bring holiday cheer for over 20 years
If you see “Strobo Santa” on Hwy.
304, you’ll know you’ve arrived at Wexford Farm in time for the annual “Evening with Santa” presented by Cindy and Reid Sharp and friends. “Strobo Santa” is one of many decorations the Sharps accumulated over more than two decades of hosting the get-together—so many they must be stored in a 48-ft. container. “Strobo Santa,” a tall rendition of St. Nick, features strobe lights to draw attention, and Reid says when they’re switched on you’d swear a state trooper was in hot pursuit of something. Reid, president and CEO of $320 million-assets First National Bank of Bastrop, says the evening began What’s Reid Sharp asking Santa for? That’s in 1986 when bank staffers realized between him, the man in red, and wife Cindy the closest Santa for youngsters was (inset). So far, the couple hasn’t sought an many miles away in Austin. So the escape Claus on their annual party bank brought Santa to its lobby. In 1991, the Sharps moved the party to their home, a historic propa snow maker—Bastrop rarely gets erty known as Wexford Farm. Nowadays the affair is not a bank event, but is the real thing—but that hasn’t been hosted by the Sharps with help from many “elves,” including friends, some tried yet. bank staffers, and even bankers from competitive institutions. This year marks the twentieth One elf, Patricia Weiss, does much of the cooking and baking with her evening at Wexford Farm, and now family. The menu is distinctly Texan. Featured dishes include tamales, tortilla children of children who attended roll ups, sausage, taco soup, sausage balls, and chicken salad sandwiches (a in the early years are coming. specialty of Reid’s mother). “We’re just flat crazy,” says Reid. Festivities, besides youngsters telling Santa their wishes, include a hayride “Two or three days before we do it, and holiday music. Reid adds that folks consume “gallons of red punch and we shake our heads and say, ‘This hot cider.” will be the last year.’ But then on “Over the years, this has grown and grown and grown,” says Reid. In the night of it, we see those kids, 2003, the crowd—more than 500 kids plus parents—clearly demanded more all happy and smiling, and we say, space than the Wexford farmhouse could provide. So the Sharps built a big ‘OK, we’ll do it for one more year’.” barn—“The Santa House”—out back, and moved things there. Reid extends an open invitation to While Cindy, Patricia, and friends handle the culinary side, Reid and a any bankers who find themselves in the crew of fellow males set up decorations and handle other chores to get the Bastrop area on the second Sunday of Santa House ready for the crowd. December of any year. He adds: “Just When asked who plays Kris Kringle (it’s not Reid), Cindy insists, “We look for Strobo-Santa.” n have the real Santa.” Actually, a local sign painter plays the role, with his —Steve Cocheo, executive editor wife playing Mrs. Claus. At one point, Reid and friends talked about getting
56 | ABA BANKING JOURNAL | December 2010
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