BENTONVILLE (KFSM) — Within the last week, many parody Facebook pages have sprung up to imitate local city pages.
"It just kind of came out of nowhere the last like week or so, we’ve had about 5,000 new likes," Tedford LaMar, one of the managers of the Fayetteville parody page said.
These pages are generically named (City of Fayetteville, City of Bentonville, etc...) and appear identical to the official government pages of each city. While some people understand the joke, the danger lies in those who don't.
"We’re monitoring it closely where it could be a dangerous situation if people do believe it and believe it’s really a city website," said Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse.
But a couple of cities are turning that sudden popularity into charitable events. The City of Bentonville and The City of Rogers pages had initially scheduled a "Fight at the Water Tower." That fight has turned into canned food, toy and coat drive.
"We noticed how much social media it was getting," the manager of the City of Rogers page said. "That’s when we had people come forward and say 'Hey, we should make something good out of this.' That’s when the idea of the charity event came up, which I think it’s a great idea."
"I thought if I have enough time to read all these comments, I have enough time to make this happen," Christian Kunnecke said. "So I had the time and the passion to turn it into a good cause for the community and make it a canned food and toy drive. We're also collecting new coats."
"I was just enjoying the witty back and forth between all the cities and I noticed Christian’s post about turning it into a food and toy drive and decided to help out," Stephannie Baker said.
"The city of Fayetteville made a page, and I think a lot of the other cities thought we did a real cool job, real neat job, and they wanted to join in. And I’m glad they did cause now we got a charity event," LaMar reflected.
"This has become so popular that hopefully more people will access the legitimate city pages and social media, so they do really know what's going on," added Sprouse. "And then they can look at the other for laughs."
Baker added that the food donated will go to the Samaritan Community Center while the coats will be given out during the Miracle on 14 Street event. Toys donated will benefit the Northwest Arkansas Women's Shelter.
The event runs between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Friday at the 2nd Street water tower in downtown Bentonville. Other donation locations include Rush Running Company in Bentonville and Shine Tek in Rogers on Thursday & Friday from 12-4, plus Ozark Axe House in Rogers on Thursday between 5-7 and Friday from 12-4.