The reopening of the East Chestnut Avenue Bridge in Arkansas City has made many who live in that area happy, including two Christmas elves who appeared Tuesday morning.
Standing at both the east and west entrances to the bridge, the stationary elves are holding signs to express appreciation for the repair of the bridge and wish those passing by a Merry Christmas.
The chest-high signs depict a smiling elf holding its own sign that reads, “Thank you” and Merry “Christmas.”
But no one seems to know they came from.
City Commissioner Jim Sybrant has been a driving force behind the recent repair of the bridge, closed since May flooding. Speculation about who is behind the signs and how they were put there has been a hot discussion topic on social media, and he has a good idea who was responsible.
“I do believe that the bridge elf is the one that’s totally responsible,” he said. “I’m pretty sure that’s who did it.”
Sybrant added that he recognized the elf. Local resident Wiley Wilcox created the elf sign more than 30 years ago and donated it to the local chamber for a fundraising auction.
“The other one is a duplicate,” he said. “I know because he’s fresh paint(ed) compared to the other one.”
“They’re just cute as hell,” he added.
Cathy Cary Wilcox commented on social media Wednesday and said that she recognized one of the signs.
“He used to live at our house — a happy guy,” she said.
But how he arrived at the bridge remains a mystery.
“How did he become the nice troll on the bridge?” Christie Lisk Rogers asked.
Public Information officer Andrew Lawson said he wasn’t even aware that the elves were there.
“I guess it’s a random act of kindness,” he said.
Sybrant is a prime suspect, but he’s not admitting to anything.
“You can assume whatever you want to,” he said. “I know a lot about it, but I’m not telling. I hope we can have some fun out of it.”