Yes, today is April Fool’s Day.

But did you also know it’s the first day of Financial Awareness Month?

Much more exciting.

If you don’t believe me, then maybe you haven’t taken a visit to a room at the Arkansas State Capitol where you can hold the state’s money in your hands.

This is in the State Treasurer’s office, which has been designed to look the way that it did when it was first opened in 1912.

This office is sometimes called the state’s bank, and the Treasurer the state’s banker.

Sure enough, the bank has a giant bank vault.

The door to that vault was first put in place a century ago.

It weighs 22,000 pounds and has a mechanical timing system managed by the tellers, because there’s actual cash in there.

The tellers say that anytime a member of the public requests to see the state’s money, it’s their job to show them that it’s actually in the state’s possession and hasn’t been taken off by some troublemaker to do who knows what with it.

Not only do visitors get to see the money, they get to hold it.

They hand out stacks of one hundred dollar bills that total a half a million dollars, and let people pose for photos before asking that they hand the money back.

Note that the website for the Treasurer says they only hold small amounts of money in the vault.

A half million is not a small amount where I come from, but then the office says they handle some $70 million worth of deposits a day.

So it’s all relative.

But here’s a question for the people who get to hold the money in the Arkansas vault: is the cash actually cold and hard?


If you’ve got some money to spend this weekend, the state fairgrounds in Albuquerque, New Mexico is hosting the Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Fest.

There will be hundreds of chocolatiers, coffee roasters and producers of other deliciousness.

The annual event also has live music, a chocolate baking challenge, a latte art throwdown and a Sunday morning yoga class, probably to help you chill out after all the sugar and caffeine you had on Saturday.

Arkansas Treasurer’s Office: About Us

Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Fest

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Photo by Mike Rastiello via Flickr/Creative Commons