Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Eyes on Arlington: New activities surround 50th anniversary of July Fourth parade

Ruby Odom, Brian Spencer St. John, Jaiyi Chen, Gabby Gallegos and Salma Paredes.
Ruby Odom, Brian Spencer St. John, Jaiyi Chen, Gabby Gallegos and Salma Paredes. Courtesy photo

A hat contest, food drive and art competitions are the newest attractions to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Arlington’s oldest continuous tradition, the July Fourth parade.

The host of new activities for the golden milestone will ramp up the excitement surrounding the July 4 processional through downtown and UTA’s College Park area.

The Ruby Odom Patriotic Hat Contest is named for former Arlington first lady Ruby Odom, wife of former Mayor Elzie Odom. Known for her exquisite taste in fashion, particularly when it comes to large, beautiful hats, Odom was the perfect namesake for the fun new contest open to parade entrants and spectators.

“We hope women, men and children will use their imagination and wear their hats to the parade,” says Arlington 4th of July Association board President Roxanne Thalman.

“Think Kentucky Derby hats in red, white and blue. And think big,” Thalman advises. Judges positioned along the parade route will select winners, who will be announced during the 1 p.m. awards ceremony in Knapp Heritage Park, 201 W. Front St.

Plans also call for a food drive. The 4th of July Association has selected the nonprofit Arlington Charities as the beneficiary of canned goods collected along the route.

“If the thousands who come to the parade bring just one can of food, we can help feed so many in our community,” Thalman said.

Two new contests — one for seventh- through 12th-graders to design the parade promotional poster and another open to anyone for the official parade T-shirt design — recently concluded. Chosen among 285 entries in the poster contest is first-place winner Jaiyi Chen from Young Junior High. Runners-up are Salma Paredes from Barnett Junior High and Gabby Gallegos from Seguin High School. Brian Spencer St. John is the winner of the T-shirt contest.

Watch for the posters in area businesses. The winning poster art will also be on exhibit in City Hall. T-shirts are available for $15 adult and $12 youth sizes at, or buy at Mr. B’s Burger Pub, Anything Goes, Gracie Lane and the Arlington Board of Realtors office.

Kudos to the association for upping its presence on social media. Be sure to tweet before and during the parade @Arl4thParade and make posts on Facebook at “Arlington 4th of July Parade.” And share your photos on Instagram via arlington_july4th_parade too.

Call 817-330-9USA or email

Leadership Arlington graduates 80

The 2015 youth and adult classes of Leadership Arlington ended with graduation ceremonies last month where 43 future leaders and 47 adult participants celebrated completion of the nine-month course aimed at creating civic leaders.

Keynote speaker for the youth ceremonies at the UTA Maverick Activities Center was Juan Villarreal, principal at Gunn Junior High. Participants in the class earlier presented to the City Council a resolution for implementing community projects involving youths for the beautification of Arlington.

The Salvation Army Youth Education Town hosted the graduation for the adult class. UTA President Vistasp Karbhari was the keynote speaker.

“Our adult leadership program combines access to influential community resources as well as the development skills necessary for lifelong community leadership and offers exclusive access to an influential network and to learning opportunities to develop resources and gain community recognition,” said spokeswoman April Harris.

“These leaders are given the opportunity to hone their skills and acquire the resources and knowledge necessary to act as agents of change in their community as a result of the program,” Harris added.

More than 1,000 graduates have completed the course since the program was established in 1979. Leadership Arlington alumni contribute more than 15,000 hours of volunteer service in the community each year, the organization says.

“I am more invested in the growth and success of this area, believe more in its initiatives and believe this is a great place to be successful, ” said 2015 class member Megan Bailey.

Paulette Tutor is president and chairman of the Leadership Arlington board. Other officers are Chair-elect Ray Bold, Terry Gaines, Victoria Weir, Alicia Speer, Brittany Clark and Jonathan Januta. To see a complete list of the 2015 graduates, visit

Applications for the next class are being accepted and are available at Adult applications are due by Aug. 29.

Events at a glance

▪ Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington Par for the Kids golf tournament is June 22 at Walnut Creek Country Club in Mansfield. Registration begins at 10 a.m., lunch served at 11 a.m., tee off at 12:30 p.m. and silent auction, dinner and awards at 5:30 p.m. Contests for longest drive, closest to the pin and mulligan. Contact Natalie Howell at 817-275-6551, ext. 231, or to register.

▪ DFW Artisans’ Etsy Craft Party is June 6 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at Mavericks Bar and Grill, 601 E. Main St. Crafting, music, photographer, prizes, food and artisan display. Contact Cathy Stein at

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