Compressed into one event last fall because of a short-handed city staff, Night on the Town returns Saturday for the first of three get-togethers aimed at drawing families to Town Park.Saturday includes mini-train rides, pony rides, a face painter, crafts and snow cones from 6-8:30 p.m. at the park, 500 N. Main St.Angie Henley, the city’s cultural arts/special events coordinator, said snow cones will come from the only food vendor at the event, reflecting her experience at the Night on the Town spring series this year.“A lot of people bring their own food to make it a family picnic event,” Henley said. “The vendors didn’t do much business.”For crafts, youngsters will make picture frames and decorate lunch bags.“I was trying to come up with arts and crafts that the families could actually use,” Henley said.A year ago, when Henley’s current position was vacant, recreation superintendent Andy Binz decided to hold a single fall event. He did the same with the Spring 2012 series.“I didn’t have an event coordinator, but I wanted to offer a Night on the Town because it’s such a popular event,” Binz said. With Henley on board, they beefed up the Spring 2013 event with four dates – three with outdoor movies and one with live music -- and the fall series with three events.The Spring 2007 Night on the Town was the inaugural series, created to promote the new park.“With the opening of Town Park in the summer of 2006, we had an amphitheater,” Binz said. “The plan was to hold free events, family-friendly type of events – music, movies, things families can enjoy.”The next two events are at the same park and same time on next two Saturdays.On Sept. 28, Mansfield police officers will teach bike safety and set the students out on a cone-based obstacle course to test their freshly learned bike-safety skills. Zack Verner’s country band takes the stage at 7 p.m., and a bicycle will be raffled off.On Oct. 5, the event features an unmeasured fall run through the park, a visit from Dallas Zoo workers and some of their animals, and the movie, “Hotel Transyvania,” when it gets dark enough.
Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641 Twitter: @Kaddmann