Eyes on Arlington: After Dark in the Park offers family-friendly Halloween fun this weekend

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Does it seem like over the years Halloween has gradually morphed into an event that’s as much for young adults as for little kids? If that’s true, the folks at River Legacy Foundation are making sure that the younger set is still the focus of their fall festival that occurs around Halloween-time.

After Dark in the Park, going strong for 17 years, remains the premiere festival for families in the Arlington area who have kids ages 2 to 10. The event, scheduled for Friday through Sunday, is loaded with well-done attractions and activities sure to delight the youngsters who attend.

River Legacy Parks and the River Legacy Living Science Center are a spectacular setting for the pumpkin patch, bounce houses, face-painting, karaoke, balloon artists, and games and crafts of all sorts that the event offers.

“After Dark in the Park has truly become the fall festival that Metroplex families turn to for a safe and fun alternative to the norm of the season,” said spokeswoman Kristi Payne.

Young guests can hear professional storytellers weave a web of tales or try to win a prize in the Walk on the Wild Side game. The children’s area will feature the Pumpkin Roll Maze, Batty Bowling, Tricky Trail obstacle course, Goofy Golf, Slinky Snakes and Jolly Jack-O-Lanterns.

A fun way to learn about nocturnal wildlife in the park is to take a walk along the Nature at Night Path. And don’t let your youngster miss Animal Encounters where they can interact with live animals. Festival guests of all ages will enjoy the camping expo set up at the event.

Buddy Blue, the city Parks and Recreation Department mascot, will be hiding at an activity each night of the festival, leaving clues behind to see who can find him and win a prize.

A new attraction this year provided courtesy of the Viridian community adjacent to the park is the Witches Hollow Haunted Trail designed specifically for kids ages 8 and up.

“The haunted trail will be a small nature trail in our woods that will incorporate a mildly spooky witch tale that will appeal to our older guests. We have plenty of activities, crafts and games geared for our younger children, and with the addition of the trail, this event now caters to the whole family,” said Payne.

All proceeds from the event benefit the foundation’s environmental education programs at River Legacy Living Science Center.

General admission is $7; children 2 and under are admitted free. Family packages for $45 can be purchased in advance and included four admission tickets and 40 activity and concession coupons, a $48 value.

Park your car in River Legacy Parks, 701 NW Green Oaks Blvd., and catch a hayride shuttle to the event entrance. To inquire, call Payne at 817-860-6752, ext. 107, or visit www.riverlegacy.org.

Educational summit

Anyone in the community interested in public and higher education issues as they relate to not only our students but the local and state economies is invited to the seventh annual Educational Policy Summit on Oct. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Bluebonnet Ballroom at the University of Texas at Arlington.

The event, hosted by state Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, will begin with a reception and a general session, followed by a panel discussion, breakout sessions and a closing assembly.

“I have visited with leaders across our community and the state and have determined that there is a need for the opportunity to highlight the effects of recent school reform legislation, particularly House Bill 5, regarding state assessment, accountability and graduation plans,” Patrick said in a statement.

“Making House Bill 5 a Success” will be the topic of a keynote address by Education Commissioner Michael Williams.

A panel discussion on “Implementing House Bill 5” will feature panelists Vistasp Karbhari, UT Arlington president; Bill Coppola, Tarrant County College Southeast Campus president; Evan Smith, the Arlington school district’s chief academic officer; and Mary Jean Maloney, Atmos Energy public affairs manager. The moderator will be Educate Texas Executive Director John Fitzpatrick.

“The purpose of the summit is to help ensure the successful implementation of this new legislation that affects our state’s educational direction, specifically with regard to preparing students for higher education and the workplace,” said Patrick.

Remarks from State Board of Education member Pat Hardy will close the session. To register, contact Ann Morris at 817-548-9091 or email her at ann.morris@house.state.tx.us.

Paws in the Park

Mom and Dad, round up the kids, friends and neighbors and bring the family dog for a fun time at the Paws in the Park Dog Walk and 5K set for Saturday in the Elm Grove Pavilion at River Legacy Parks. The 5K steps off at 8 a.m. and the dog walk begins at 9.

Hosted by Friends of Arlington Animal Services, the event will also offer games for both the kids and the doggies. A dog costume contest sounds like fun, so pet owners may want to get busy figuring out Fido’s outfit.

In charge of the event are Kelli Eaves, Marnie Simmons and Rene Rosser, who have arranged to have bounce houses for the kids and plenty of tasty food for guests to snack on while they visit various pet-related exhibits. Exhibitions from some well-trained dogs will provide the morning’s entertainment.

Also available are low-cost pet vaccinations, microchipping, dog blessings and the chance to adopt a pet from rescue groups. Raffle and auction items include veterinarian packages, massages, gift cards, spa packages and lots of cute pet items.

Registration at the event is $20 for the walk and $25 for the 5K. Kids under 12 are free with an adult. Discounts are available for advance registration.

“This will be a fun day for the whole family, including the family dog. We’ll have activities for kids and dog lovers of all ages. All proceeds benefit the homeless pets of Arlington,” said Eaves, FAAS co-director.

To inquire, call Eaves at 972-672-1769 or get details at www.facebook.com/FAAStx.

Celebration of Freedom Run

Join hundreds of students from across Arlington on Oct. 19 at the 13th annual Celebration of Freedom Run. The Arlington Council of PTAs decided a year after 9-11 to establish the event as a way for students to celebrate freedom and life in America.

The course begins at the school district administration building, at 1203 W. Pioneer Parkway, and meanders through the nearby neighborhoods. A pre-race warm-up begins at 7:30 a.m. The mile fun run starts at 8 a.m. followed by the 5K start at 8:30.

Runners, walkers and spectators will enjoy a festive, patriotic morning that will include a military color guard presentation and the singing of the national anthem. Food and beverage concessions will be available.

PTA spokeswoman Lori Turano said, “We are excited to add a health and wellness fair this year. And we know the kids will enjoy all the carnival-type games planned.”

Exhibitors at the health expo will include school nurse Laurie Sikes, Arlington police, Tarrant County Public Health, The Lice Place, Patterson CPR and World of Wellness.

An awards ceremony after the race will announce winners in several categories, and there will be drawings for nifty door prizes.

Race-day registration is $20 for students and $25 for adults. No charge for kids under 5 with an adult. Each student entry will include a bracelet for participation in any of the activities at the event. Additional bracelets can be purchased for $5.

Additional information is at www.arlingtonisd.txpta.org or call or text Turano at 817-716-6170.

Send your Eyes on Arlington news to freeder@arlingtoncitizen-journal.com. “Like” us at www.facebook.com/SocialEyes.ST. Follow me on Twitter: @FayeReeder.

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