Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Eyes on Arlington: Top charity events bring festival for kids and rock ’n’ roll for grown-ups

After Dark in the Park is Oct. 9-11 at River Legacy Parks.
After Dark in the Park is Oct. 9-11 at River Legacy Parks.

Don’t you love fall in Arlington? Not only is it the best weather but also the time when our local charities and nonprofit groups marshal their considerable forces to bring us a collage of entertainment second to none.

For the grown-ups, there’s a chance to Rock the Night Away at the Junior League’s big concert and party Oct. 17 at the Arlington Museum of Art. For the kids, there’s the venerable After Dark in the Park festival in River Legacy Parks on Oct. 9-11.

After Dark in the Park — a family-friendly event hosted by the River Legacy Foundation for the past 18 years — has everything imaginable to thrill kids ages 2 to 10. It’s open from 5 to 9 p.m., and you’ll need the entire evening to participate in all the activities, including bounce houses, karaoke, a visit to the pumpkin patch and a variety of unique games and crafts.

Rock the Night Away with JLA is making its debut on the local event scene as the Junior League’s brand new fundraiser since the group decided to sunset the holiday gift market from years past. The event will feature A-list entertainer Hannah Kirby from The Voice at a concert and party.

In charge of the Junior League event is Tamika Tutt with help from an event committee that includes Misty Lockhart, Nancy Ward, Rachel Richter, Tammie Bryant, Brandy Washington, Shunda Dixon, Kitty Baker and Lavon Hampshire.

JLA President Emily Swanson said, “All proceeds from the event benefit our projects and grants for the community including our Glass Slipper Boutique, Center for Community Service and our new area of focus, abuse prevention.”

Attendees at each event will have drastically different experiences — for kids, there are professional storytellers with fun tales to tell or playing Walk on the Wild Side for a chance to win fun prizes from Six Flags Over Texas. There’s more action adventures in the Pumpkin Roll Maze, Snake in the Hole, Pond Hopping, Jolly Jack-o-Lanterns and Autumn Danglers games.

For adults, the vibe of the Junior League party will be a break from the mundane as they nosh on spectacular hors d’oeuvres, sip cocktails and shop an exciting silent auction before the concert.

Rising-star entertainer Hannah Kirby rose to prominence after placing in the top 8 on The Voice. “I have been excited about working with the Arlington Junior League since having Sunday lunch after church with [JLA member] Misty Gammill Lockhart,” Kirby wrote in an email. “Her passionate conversation about the great things the Junior League does was inspiring.”

“I’m excited to play any venue that promises to ‘rock the night away’ but knowing that it helps raise funds for kids and women who need help makes it even better.”

Likewise, spokeswoman Kristi Payne said funds raised at the festival will also benefit children. “After Dark in the Park is not only a significant fundraiser for River Legacy Foundation’s environmental education programs, but it has also become the fall festival that families turn to for a safe and fun seasonal event.

“We take that to heart when planning the event, and are excited to offer 20 fun activities that are free with the price of admission.”

Kids can take a guided stroll along the Nature at Night Path and learn fun facts about nocturnal life in the park, and they can personally meet some of the animals in the Living Science Center at one of the Animal Encounters shows. Don’t let the kiddos leave without getting a glow-in-the dark tattoo, a balloon animal or a family fall photograph. There’s even a camping expo for the parents to enjoy.

Families won’t have to worry about dinner because gourmet food trucks from Holy Frijole’s and Samson’s Gourmet Hot Dogs will roll in to serve hungry guests. Snack attacks for tasty festival fare will be satisfied with shaved ice treats, kettle corn, cotton candy and roasted nuts.

To ramp up the fun at the Hannah Kirby concert, guests are encouraged to dress in their favorite “Red Carpet Rock” outfits. You might see everything from vintage concert T-shirts to blingy dresses worn at the televised red carpet events that have become so popular in recent years. That’s the beauty of interpreting the dress code for a fun event, right?

Kirby, who grew up in Sulphur Springs, will sing her newly released single, Power. She’ll cover some of the rock anthems she belted out during the TV competition and likely will do some blues and soul numbers she says she loves.

“My new band is really coming together, and we’re planning on having an epic time at Rock the Night Away,” Kirby said.

Parking for both events is a snap. For After Dark in the Park, just pull into River Legacy and take a shuttle to the festival entrance. For Rock the Night Away, there’s ample free parking around the Arlington Museum of Art at 201 W. Main St.

After Dark admission is $8 per person for ages 3 and up. A Family Fun Package is $45 and includes four admission tickets and 20 $1 activity and food coupons (a $52 value). Purchase online or contact Payne at 817-860-6752, ext. 107.

Rock the Night Away tickets are $75 and include the food, concert and two drink tickets. A cash bar will also be available. A $100 VIP tickets adds on the chance for the VIP Lounge experience and special VIP parking. Purchase at or call the Junior League office at 817-277-9481.

Go online for more information about both events. After Dark in the Park is at and Rock the Night Away deets are at

Mansfield Tablescapes luncheon Oct. 15 a feast for the eyes

In three short years, the Tablescapes luncheon hosted by the Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce has become one of Mansfield’s signature women’s events. Set for Oct. 15 at the Walnut Creek Country Club, the event will again feature a buffet luncheon, networking opportunities and a roomful of elaborately decorated tables.

Tabletops will be embellished with original designs incorporating a wide variety of insanely creative themes. The designers are the sponsor of each decorated table — local businesses and stores, individuals or any organization that wants to participate. They can create whatever they want and make it as elaborate or as simple as time, resources and talent allows.

In charge of the event is Women’s Division President Lynn Mutti with help from a stellar committee including Clarissa Bush of Oliver’s Fine Foods, Susanne Englebert of Eterna Health Food and Joanie Fowler Pace of Golden Mechanical.

“This is our fourth annual Tablescapes event, which is our only fundraiser in order for the Women’s Division of the Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce to provide scholarships to high school seniors,” said Mutti.

“The competition has morphed into a show of costumes as well. The table sponsors and attendees will often dress to fit their theme,” Mutti said, adding that the event is a hit with both men and women.

Judges will choose winners in categories including Best Overall, Most Creative and Best Use of Theme. Guests will vote on which table receives the People’s Choice award. Gift cards will be awarded to the winning tables.

The imaginative artists that create the table designs treat their creations as highly guarded secrets because they want attendees to be wowed and inspired when they enter the room.

Back again for a fourth year is Mansfield tourism manager Theresa Cohagen, whose signature tablescapes always feature an event or new venue coming to Mansfield. “This year is no different,” she said. “My table will be a classy chic country table featuring the LOT, a new outside event venue coming to downtown Mansfield. The opening show will be a concert featuring Sawyer Brown.” She’s one to watch because despite having amazing tables the past three years, she hasn’t taken home a prize yet.

After some urging, Mutti, who owns remodeling/design company Grace Homestead, revealed that she has been hired to design a tablescape for the event. Hopefully, we’re not spoiling a surprise, but word is her design will be a Vintage Circus theme and Mayor David Cook — in full circus ringmaster regalia — will be among the guests at this table.

Individual tickets are $50. Table sponsorships are $150 (includes one admission) or $450 (includes eight admissions). The deadline to sponsor a table is Thursday. Tickets will remain on sale as long as seats are available.

Funds raised from ticket sales will provide six $1,000 scholarships to college-bound seniors from Mansfield schools. “Our Scholarship Committee reviews hundreds of essays that are submitted by the girls and chooses a winner from each campus,” Mutti said.

Make arrangements by calling the chamber at 817-473-0507 or contact Mutti at

Egg Roll Festival & Health Fair celebrates Asian culture

Although there will still be plenty of tasty egg rolls for guests to eat Saturday at the Egg Roll Festival, a new contest will replace the longtime competition for the best Asian delicacy. Making its debut will be a spirited matchup to see who can create the best Asian traditional dessert.

The celebration of Asian-American heritage is hosted by the Tarrant County Asian-American Chamber of Commerce. Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams, along with other civic and community leaders, will attend the celebration and greet visitors.

A health fair will offer medical screenings, dental exams and health information along with flu shots. Lots of exhibits full of products will be fun for attendees to visit and meet the owners of local businesses.

The festival wouldn’t be complete without the impressive dragon dance. And other cultural dance numbers are also on tap to keep festivalgoers entertained throughout the day.

The lucky judges in the signature contest have the enviable job of choosing the winners in the dessert competition, in which they will evaluate the entries on overall appearance, presentation, flavor, aroma, texture and originality. Generous cash prizes will awarded to the top three.

“The Egg Roll Festival is a day of celebration of Asian cultures, arts and food. It’s a unique cultural event and a chance to experience a little bit of Asia deep in the heart of Texas,” said Yen Nguyen, president of Tarrant County Asian-American Chamber of Commerce.

The venue for the family-friendly event is the Vietnamese Martyrs Church Hall, 801 E. Mayfield Road. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ample free parking is available.

Learn more at or contact Liem Tran at 214-531-3839 or Yen Nguyen at 817-797-9144.

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