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SocialEyes by Faye Reeder

City prepares to celebrate July 4th with a bang

Posted Monday, Jul. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Hours before the grill is fired up for barbecue, or the sizzle of sparklers and the pop of fireworks starts, thousands of people will line the streets of downtown Arlington and the University of Texas at Arlington campus ready to watch what is often referred to as the biggest Fourth of July parade in North Texas.

It’s a tradition with many local families – some even have their spot staked out at dawn each year – to start Independence Day by cheering on the colorful, raucous patriotic procession as it winds along a 2.5-mile route.

Nearly 150 entries including elaborate floats, lavishly decorated cars, horses, dancers, cheerleaders, marching bands, scout troops, dogs, motorcycles and vintage cars will entertain the spectators gathered to watch.

“Many people don't realize that the parade is produced by volunteers,” said Arlington 4th of July Parade Association President June Owens. The association is a non-profit group that relies on the generosity of sponsors and partnerships with the city, UTA and Arlington ISD to produce the annual spectacle, now in its 48th year.

No parade would be complete without a grand marshal, and this year there are three. Doing the honors and leading off the parade will be the new UT Arlington President Dr. Vistasp Karbhari along with Arlington school Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos and Tarrant County College SE Campus President Dr. Bill Coppola.

Back again after debuting in last year’s parade will be the 36th Infantry Division World War II re-enactment group, impressively dressed in period uniforms.

Prepare to be wowed by the Brown Cow Productions entry. The Arlington company’s owner, Michael Brown, is a veteran actor, director and author as well as the husband of author Sandra Brown. He describes his float as “the emblem of creativity and knowledge decorated with characters from the children's book So Much To Be Seen as well as building awareness of Mister Brown's Art Camp.”

Making their parade debut is a highly anticipated entry from a Dallas non-profit, Native Revision. A company spokesperson said, “Our float will be capturing the spirit of Fourth of July intertwined with the Native American Indian culture.”

Spoiler alert: Watch for some red, white and blue shimmer and a gigantic life-like eagle head on the float that will also have live Native American tribal drummers and singers. The Adidas Native-American All-Star football team and women’s lacrosse exhibition team members will also be onboard.

Cherokee Bell from the organization said: “Our float will represent more than 20 tribes throughout the United States and Canada. Founder of the company is Steve Cardwell, a blood line member of the Cheyenne tribe of Oklahoma and a great-grandson of Chief Whiteshield.”

Be on the lookout for a beautifully restored 1952 MG TD Mark II - you can’t miss the British racing green color - as it passes by driven by former Arlington Mayor Richard Greene accompanied by wife, Sylvia. When the couple began dating 50 years ago, the storied sportster was their dream car, and Greene bought one for his wife earlier this year.

Official Arlington 4th of July Parade t-shirts will be sold at city hall and in the parade assembly area on the day of the parade. Shirts feature the winning design of Melanie Martinez from Barnett Jr. High. Proceeds of shirt sales benefit the Ulster Project.

In charge of an early morning breakfast for sponsors and partners is long-time hospitality chairwoman Jean Widman. An award ceremony at 1 p.m. after the parade at Heritage Park, 201 W. Front Street, will reveal winners in several categories.

The parade steps off at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 4, at the corner of Mitchell and Pecan Streets, then winds north along Pecan to UTA Blvd. and heads east to S. West Street, then on along Abram Street, turning on Center Street and wraps up the last length heading west on Mitchell Street.

In addition to being broadcast on Time Warner local access channel 98, the parade will make its web radio debut. Tune in at www.anointedurban.com.

For details, a route map, t-shirt order form or to see a complete lineup, visit www.arlington4th.org or call 817-330-9USA.

Aloha Duck Race

Raise some money for Special Olympics by helping the rubber duck migrate from its native bathtub habitat to the waters at Hawaiian Falls water park. Save the date of Saturday, June 29 and head out to the water park located at 490 Heritage Parkway in Mansfield and watch how a duck takes to water at the Aloha Duck Race.

Hundreds of the little rubber duckies will race in the Kona Kooler River at the Hawaiian-themed water park, and if your duck crosses the finish line first you can win two round-trip tickets for anywhere Southwest Airlines flies. Other top finishers will win gift cards, Hawaiian Falls tickets, and other prizes.

“With the Special Olympics Promotion Code, the price to enter the park is only $10. So come enjoy the day at Hawaiian Falls for a great price and the fun of cheering on the ducks,” said Special Olympics official Susie McAlister. “Adopt a duck to support the athletes of Special Olympics Texas. It will be Quack-tacular. Mahalo.”

Get your ducks in a row and figure out your adoption options. A Lone Duck is $5; a Quack Pack of 5 ducks is $20; Quacker’s Dozen is $50; and a Mega Quack Pack of 25 ducks is $100. The more duckies you have, the more chances to win. Complete the adoption online at www.sotx .org/ alohaducks.

You don’t even have to be present to win.

Direct questions to McAlister at 817-332-3433.

Send your event news to freeder@arlingtoncitizen-journal.com and post events on our social media channels. To get started, "Like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/socialeyes.st and www.facebook.com/arlingtoncitizen-journal. Twitter: @FayeReeder

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