Santa man

The man behind the beard is David Bates, Tulsa’s Kris Kringle.



David Bates and his “sled.” He starts preparing for the busy Christmas season in early October.

Evan Taylor

Many Tulsans put on a suit to go to work. So does David Bates. But his is a little jollier than most. This is Bates’ ninth season to play Santa Claus.

In January 2005, Bates retired from his job with Saint Francis Health System and decided to never shave again. For Halloween that year, he happened to be wearing a red T-shirt and his beard was white. He grabbed an old Santa hat laying nearby and answered the door for some trick-or-treaters.

“The wonderful response I received from the children was beyond description,” Bates recalls. “‘This is the wrong time of the year.’ ‘Where’s
Rudolph?’ It made my day and year.”

That got Bates’ wheels turning.

At the beginning of the 2005 Christmas season, Bates was watching his grandson sing at the Philbrook Museum of Art. Bates spoke to the museum’s Santa and left him his contact information. The museum asked him to fill in the last weekend of the year, and he replaced the former Santa the following year.

The Santa season generally starts around the first of October for Bates. That’s when he has his beard trimmed. He also checks his suit for wear and tear, and polishes his boots. In addition to making his list and checking it twice, of course.

His bookings vary each year, but Bates has visited a variety of locations as Santa. While Santa seekers are most likely to see him at Philbrook, he also visits Gilcrease Museum, the Tulsa Country Club, corporate Christmas parties, hospitals, schools and homes. He sits and visits with the children and adults at each event and takes pictures with them.

Christmas Eve is usually his busiest day, sometimes with five or six visits in one evening.

In 2006, Bates attended a get-together of Santas in Branson, Mo. There he networked with other Santas and received training on how to become a better Santa and how to deal with difficult children and adults. He was even asked to do a short commercial for the city of Branson later that year. (View it at TulsaPeople.com/santa.)

Bates says the most challenging part of being Santa is not over-extending himself with too many events. But he hates to say “no.” The best part, he says, is experiencing “the unconditional love and joy that a child brings.” He adds, “But it is not just the children, but the older adults. You see it in their eyes as they remember many joyous Christmases past.”

Occasionally, children will ask Bates if he’s “real.” He always asks, “What do you think?”

Bates says he plans to be Santa for 30 or more years. Just like in the 1994 movie “The Santa Clause,” Bates says the longer he performs, the more he becomes the man.

This year Bates will assist the U.S. Marines with their Toys for Tots distribution in Broken Arrow. His next adventure includes the lot beside his house. He bought the land in hopes to someday create a “Santa’s workshop” for parents and children to visit.


How to be a successful Santa

  1. Love the children, both the good and the bad. “I have had several opportunities to be a ‘mall Santa,’” Bates says. “However, working seven days a week from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve? No, thank you. These Santas get the children who are worn out and cranky from shopping.”
  2. Men who portray Santa must be sure of themselves, he says, or the children will sense their insecurity. With the love and adoration of so many, some Santas think they are the most important person in the world. And to the children, they are.
  3. An understanding wife is most important. “My wife has been very helpful in the last few years,” Bates says. “She goes with me usually where there are lots of young children. Her nearly 30 years of experience as a kindergarten teacher gives a calmness among the children during my visit, which makes my appearance much easier.”
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November 2017

Saint Francis Tulsa Tough founders and organizers will bring Cyntergy Hurtland back for the third year on Sunday, November 12, 2017, in Owen Park downtown Tulsa, Okla. The cycling event will...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Owen Park
560 N. Maybelle Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Cyntergy
Telephone: 918-408-8835
Contact Name: Amber Neville
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Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
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Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 for ages 13+; $4 for ages 3–12; 2 & under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
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Cost: $5 donation to Lindsey House

Where:
The Farm Shopping Center
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Inside the old Hancock’s Fabrics
Tulsa, OK  74145
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Sponsor: Black Sheep Boutique
Telephone: 918-510-2345
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108 Contemporary
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Telephone: 918-895-6302
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Asbury United Methodist Church
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Sponsor: Asbury UMC
Telephone: 918-392-1184
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Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Southern Hills Country Club
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Telephone: 918-582-1457
Contact Name: Aimee Mehl
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Cost: free and open to the public

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McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
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The Circle Cinema
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Tulsa, OK  74104
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Cost: free

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108 E Mathew B. Brady St
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Sponsor: 108 Contemporary
Telephone: 918-895-6302
Contact Name: 108 Contemporary Intern
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Jenks Nutrition
124 N 3rd St
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Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
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Cost: varies

Where:
Summit Club
15 W 6th Street
Tusla, OK  74119
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Sponsor: Association for Women in Communications Tulsa Professional Chapter
Telephone: 918.236.4127
Contact Name: Beverly Moore
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Cost: Free Admission

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108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: 108 Contemporary
Telephone: 918-895-6302
Contact Name: 108 Contemporary Intern
Website »

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Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
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415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free Admission

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: 108 Contemporary
Telephone: 918-895-6302
Contact Name: 108 Contemporary Intern
Website »

More information

join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

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Cost: $5.00

Where:
Jenks Nutrition
124 N 3rd St
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »

More information

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Cost: $10

Where:
VanTrease PACE
10300 E. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »

More information

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This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free Admission

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: 108 Contemporary
Telephone: 918-895-6302
Contact Name: 108 Contemporary Intern
Website »

More information

join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

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Cost: $10

Where:
VanTrease PACE
10300 E. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »

More information

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100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 918-408-1208
Contact Name: Ally Lightle
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More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

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Cost: $12, $17, $22

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Telephone: 918-495-6000
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Cost: Free Admission

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: 108 Contemporary
Telephone: 918-895-6302
Contact Name: 108 Contemporary Intern
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 for ages 13+; $4 for ages 3–12; 2 & under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Website »

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Gaata Rahe Mera Dil: the iconic melody of SD Burman, is the musical journey of a composer who we can truly call an architect of the golden era of Hindi film music.

Cost: 35

Where:
Lorton Performance Center
550 South Gary Place,
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »


Sponsor: SAPAF
Telephone: 918 625 6037
Contact Name: Mohan Kelkar

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Big Fish is a story that shifts between two timelines.  In the present-day real world, sixty-year-old Edward Bloom faces his mortality while his son Will prepares to become a father himself....

Cost: $10

Where:
VanTrease PACE
10300 E. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »

More information

Sexy guitar. Infectiosu rhythms. Smoky vocals. KALO is groovesome rhythm and blues meets fiery rock 'n' roll. Don't miss the band everyone is talking about. www.kaloband.com

Cost: $10

Where:
Soul City of Tulsa
1621 E 11th St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

More information

Cost: $8

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Over the past twelve years, the Williams Route 66 Marathon has become a 26.2-mile party! You might find yourself asking "Is this a race or really just a huge...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Cox Business
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 918-408-1208
Contact Name: Ally Lightle
Website »

More information

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Cost: $5.00

Where:
Jenks Nutrition
124 N 3rd St
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
The Tristesse Grief Center
2502 E 71st St
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  The Harry Potter™ film series is one of those once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomena that continues to delight millions of fans around the world. The concert will feature the Tulsa...

Cost: $45-$90

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E 2nd St
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Symphony
Telephone: 918-584-3645
Contact Name: Amy Roark
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Enjoy making and taking home a beautiful authentic stained glass ring project in this 2 hour class. Crafting lessons, materials for one ring (4" ring and 9 glass nuggets), and use of tools are all...

Cost: $39.00

Where:
Tulsa Stained Glass
4131 S. Sheridan Rd.
Tulsa, OK  74145
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Sponsor: Tulsa Stained Glass
Telephone: 918-664-8604
Contact Name: Richard Bohm
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join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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Working in large-scale paper and graphite collages, Mark Lewis, Applied Associate Professor at the University of Tulsa, builds up layers of paper to create highly dimensional urban landscapes,...

Cost: Free Admission

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: 108 Contemporary
Telephone: 918-895-6302
Contact Name: 108 Contemporary Intern
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The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
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Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
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This wine, canvas and painting class in Tulsa, OK features step-by-step instruction to help you create a fun acrylic painting on a 16x20 stretched canvas. Purchase wine, beer, and mixed...

Cost: $30 per person (normally $40)

Where:
Tulsa Time Paint & Sip Studio
3807 S Peoria Ave Suite-C
Tulsa, OK  74105
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Sponsor: Tulsa Time Paint & Sip Studio
Telephone: 918-927-0729
Contact Name: Martin Pecina
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  The Harry Potter™ film series is one of those once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomena that continues to delight millions of fans around the world. The concert will feature the Tulsa...

Cost: $45-$90

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E 2nd St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Symphony
Telephone: 918-584-3645
Contact Name: Amy Roark
Website »

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You can't get more classical than celebrating Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms with internationally acclaimed pianist Sara Davis Buechner and the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra! Come join us as we...

Cost: $40

Where:
Bartlesville Community Center
300 S.E. Adams Blvd.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
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Sponsor: Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 918-366-7717
Contact Name: Molly Collins
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Autumn is here, and summer has fallen Just a few more weeks, and no more pollen! Thanksgiving's coming and football huddles, So grab some blankets for cold-weather cuddles! Laughing Matter is a...

Cost: 8.00

Where:
PH Community House
306 South Phoenix
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Laughing Matter Improv
Contact Name: Jerry Henderson
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Big Fish is a story that shifts between two timelines.  In the present-day real world, sixty-year-old Edward Bloom faces his mortality while his son Will prepares to become a father himself....

Cost: $10

Where:
VanTrease PACE
10300 E. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Cost: $5

Where:
Reynolds Center
3208 E 8th St
Tulsa, OK
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Making plans for this weekend? You can't do better than The Drunkard & The Olio at the historic Spotlight Theater. You know you've always wanted to go, and now's your chance. And if...

Cost: Adults $20, kids $12, seniors & military $17

Where:
Spotlight Theater
1381 Riverside Dr.
Tulsa, OK  74127
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TULtalk


Fit to feast

Stunning settings for your holiday table

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A la carte: November 2017

4 Tulsa places to go when you crave comfort food

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Painting the town

Inside the manufacturing and retail headquarters of Anchor Paint, ‘Tulsa’s paint store’

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American pie

Through its 80 years, Bama Pies has gone from upstart to worldwide success.

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All in a day’s work

Recent fundraisers for Tulsa Area United Way, Tulsa Charity Fight Night Inc., Tulsa Community College Foundation and the Take a Seat Initiative.

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