Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Eyes on Arlington: Holiday events in Mansfield set for Dec. 3 and 9

The Mansfield school district Mascot Race is a highlight of the DFW Toys for Tots collection event, set this year for Dec. 9 at the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts.
The Mansfield school district Mascot Race is a highlight of the DFW Toys for Tots collection event, set this year for Dec. 9 at the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts. Courtesy photo

A spectacular tree-lighting veremony hosted by the Mansfield school district at 6 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts will offer lighted pageantry surrounding multiple custom-built trees in a special event sure to delight the whole family.

The main tree was built last year by students at Ben Barber Career Tech Academy. The 900-pound creation is adorned with 10,000 multicolored lights and stands in front of the performing arts center.

“When we light the 33-foot-tall tree, we will acknowledge the students and teachers who designed and built this tree and showcase their program at Ben Barber,” said Lynn Wilkie, spokeswoman for the center.

Superintendent Jim Vaszauskas and Mansfield Mayor David Cook will do the tree-lighting honors. Wilkie explained that another class of Ben Barber students designed and created smaller Christmas trees to place in the plaza decorated with lights to mimic the larger tree.

Said teacher Robert Goodson: “The computer integrated manufacturing class at Ben Barber is excited to be partnering with the Performing Arts Center for this year’s Toys for Tots drive. We helped last year with the design of the Christmas tree, built by our welding class, and are thrilled to be able to showcase the build skills and abilities of our students.”

Children from the MISD Children’s Center pre-K class will sing holiday songs, and guests will enjoy hot chocolate and cookies after the ceremony.

Later on Dec. 9, the Mansfield Toys for Tots drive that’s been open for the past several weeks will end with a huge community event from 5 to 10:30 p.m., also at the Center for the Performing Arts.

With an expected crowd of 5,000-6,000, the event is thought to be the largest Toys for Tots event in the state.

William Gossell, a retired Marine Corps major general who is managing the DFW Toys for Tots program, said more than 158,000 children in 17 counties were served last year with the help of the Mansfield district and their outstanding contributions.

“The DFW Toys for Tots 2015 campaign has raised the bar and set our goal to reach 165,000 children this year. Through the combined efforts of DFW Toys for Tots and sponsors such as Mansfield ISD, we can make a difference, one child at a time,” Gossell said.

Guests at the event will enjoy a parade, a snow-sledding hill, Santa photos, live reindeer, bounce houses, a firetruck and fire clowns, and an obstacle course. Don’t worry about dinner, because food trucks will drive in to serve up a variety of specialties.

“We’ll also have Starbucks coffee and hot chocolate, train rides, crafts, ornament making, student performances, cookie decorating, a petting zoo and lots more free, festive fun,” Wilkie said.

The show-stealer of the day is the Mascot Race where mascot characters from Mansfield schools compete to see who can drop their toy in the box first.

“This is the most exciting point of the event. With the crowd cheering and screaming, they run — some sprinting, some falling — trying to win bragging rights and the trophy,” said Wilkie.

The Summit Jaguar won the race in 2012, and the Lake Ridge Eagle took home the prize for the past two years with good-natured accusations that having his bird legs free and unencumbered was an unfair advantage. Rumor has it that the other mascots are primed and ready to take home this year’s trophy.

Admission to the events is free. The center is at 1110 W. Debbie Lane. To inquire, call 817-299-1230.

More holiday events

▪ The Holiday Tour of Homes is Dec. 6 from 1 to 6 p.m. hosted by the Mansfield Women’s Club. This popular event will feature five gorgeous Mansfield homes located on Diamond Oaks Drive, Castle Creek Drive, Trailside Court and Piccadilly Court. Preview the homes on the club website.

Tour tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Tickets available at Tom Thumb (U.S. 287 and Walnut Creek Drive), Poured (1601 E Debbie Lane) and The Cellar on Main in downtown Mansfield. Contact Karen Payton at 817-453-2111 or Gayle Lambert at 817-453-9873 or visit

▪ Ebby’s Angel Tree party is Dec. 6 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the office at 1201 W. Green Oaks Blvd. In honor of Ebby Halliday Acers’ extraordinary legacy of community service, the office is supporting The Salvation Army Angel Tree program. Guests are asked to bring a new toy, clothing or cash donation and stay to enjoy sweet treats and visit with Santa.

▪ Pop Up Art and Music Show is Dec. 12 from noon to 8 p.m. at the Plaza Central Mall (formerly Six Flags Mall). Presented by Arlington Proud, the event will feature at least 20 visual artists, and 10 creative arts vendors will be selling their creations. Live and local music all day. Admission is free. Check it out at

▪ The Arlington Master Chorale holiday shows are Dec. 10-11 at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1200 Green Oaks Blvd. The show is called “I Believe in Christmas.”

The Dec. 10 concert features Martin High School’s’ varsity and junior varsity show choirs. The Dec. 11 concert will include the Arlington Boys and Girls Choir. Tickets are $8-$20 and are available at the door or online at

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