Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Family 4th in Northeast Tarrant has fireworks, concert, veterans tribute

Doves are released during a salute to veterans at the 2015 Northeast Tarrant Family 4th.
Doves are released during a salute to veterans at the 2015 Northeast Tarrant Family 4th. Courtesy photo

The Family 4th celebration from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday will serve up some of the very best local patriotic activities in the area. No wonder the high-power event can offer so much — it has the expertise of the Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce to host it along with support from Haltom City, North Richland Hills, Richland Hills and Watauga.

Headlining the evening will be a dazzling fireworks display at 9:30 p.m., but watch out for the live music performed by country music artist Derek Anthony to come close to stealing the show. The free concert begins at 8 p.m. Before Anthony takes the stage, some great local talent will do crowd-pleasing shows.

During a moving Salute to Veterans ceremony at 7 p.m., all local veterans will be invited onstage while state Rep. Stephanie Klick leads a tribute, followed by a spirited patriotic song and poignant release of 50 white doves to honor the service of all veterans everywhere.

A kids area will have plenty of children’s games, inflatables and attractions to keep the younger set entertained. It’s not often you get a chance to see a Corn Dog Eating Contest, so don’t miss the competition at 6:30 p.m. to see who can hold the most of the those tasty cornmeal-wrapped hot dogs on a stick.

“The Northeast Family 4th offers a fantastic free fireworks display, free parking and free events that draw a great crowd,” chamber President Jack Bradshaw said.

If all this celebrating makes you hungry, no worries. Food trucks and food vendors include B&C Snow Balls, Bayou Bites, Brain Freeze Events, Chile Pepper Grill, Crazy Cowboy, Kidwell BBQ & Catering, Kona Ice Northwest DFW, Nate’s 125th Cafe, Rita’s Italian Ice, Sweets by Selina, Texas Ice Cream, The Virgin Olive, Toadally Ice and What’s Cook N Chef.

It all happens at The Hills Center, at 6351 Blvd. 26 in North Richland Hills. Another good spot to view the fireworks is the parking lots of the Wiley G. Thomas Coliseum, 6108 Broadway Ave. in Haltom City.

“Feel free to bring chairs, blankets, and games for the family to play while waiting for the fireworks. However, no outdoor cooking or grilling devices and no alcohol or personal fireworks will be permitted. In the event of inclement weather, all festivities and the fireworks show will be rescheduled to Tuesday,” Bradshaw said.

Check out and click on “Community Events” for details.

Arlington July Fourth parade to show patriotic and community pride

Before Monday morning rolls around, head to downtown Arlington to scout out your spot for watching the 51st edition of the July Fourth parade. The patriotic promenade steps off at 9 a.m., but you’ll need to arrive earlier to navigate the street closures and get situated for maximum parade enjoyment.

Said to be the largest parade in North Texas, the red, white and blue community favorite will have more than 150 entries passing by a crowd of at least 50,000 as Arlington dons its patriotic colors for the big day. Spectators will line the route, which begins at Mitchell and South West streets on the UTA campus and winds its way through UTA’s College Park and the downtown Arlington area.

“I love how the parade brings such a diverse community together. It’s really beautiful and sets a great standard for the younger generations who watch or participate,” said Roxanne Thalman, president of the 4th of July Association.

Among the amazing floats, cheer and dance squads, scout groups, bands, marching groups, classic cars, horses and other colorful participants rolling along the 2-mile route will be some ultra-unusual entries.

For example, there’s the entry created by Jesse’s Roofing Services — sure to be the first of its kind in 50 years of parades. Wanting to keep details under wraps until parade day, company owner Jesse Espino was reluctant to reveal much about his entry.

To avoid a spoiler alert but provide a clue about the entry, let’s just say it will represent a recent movement depicted in TV shows and news reports of people who want to live a tinier, simpler, greener life. Espino divulged that his entry will completely fill up a 28-foot trailer and will be 13  1/2 feet tall. The exterior will be wood siding painted navy blue, and a major component of the structure is a replica of the U. S. flag.

With a special place in his heart for those experiencing homelessness, particularly veterans who are homeless, Espino hopes his entry will create awareness that people don’t necessarily have to have a huge home to live happily and comfortably.

Jesse’s Roofing Service is inviting the community to get a close-up look at its entry after the parade back at the UTA parking area where the parade assembled. “People can pose for photos with it and see our plans for what the finished interior will eventually look like,” he said.

The all-volunteer 4th of July Association has chosen “America the Beautiful” as the parade theme and has dedicated the parade to “Those Who Keep Arlington Beautiful.” And who better than Arlington’s own guardian of nature, Molly Holler, to receive the extraordinary honor of being the parade grand marshal in a year with beautification as the theme?

The Arlington Conservation Council’s picturesque float will depict the beauty of nature with trees, herons and bald eagles all made from recycled materials. “We’ve been in the parade for many years, and we have fun working on our entry,” member Marian Hiler said. “The challenge of blending the council’s mission of protecting the environment and the parade theme really creates a creative challenge we enjoy.”

Peter Pann of Neverland will be prancing along the route with his owner Olivia Reynolds as he leads the North Texas Miniature Equestrian Driving Club. “We’ll have 16 miniature horses, and some of them pull a decorated miniature horse cart,” Reynolds said. “It’s our chance to show off the horses and have a good time.” The adorable little horses will be blinged out in red, white and blue glitter and are a surefire crowd-pleaser.

Speaking of miniatures, watch out for those zany World Famous Wheelie-ing Elvi darting from curb to curb on their miniature motorcycles and working the crowd into a frenzy. Elvis may have “left the building,” but his memory lives on with these guys.

If you want to find out which entry had the most spirit or which ones were most unique, walk on over to Knapp Heritage Park at 1 p.m. to enjoy some shade while watching the awards ceremony and cheering on your favorite groups. Learn more about the parade route, where the six announcer stands are located and other details at

July Fourth picnic in Keller

Bring your own picnic lunch around noon Monday for an old-fashioned picnic in Keller’s Bates Park. Don’t have time to pack a lunch? Come on anyway, says Sharon Sanden of the Old Town Keller Foundation.

“We will have music, games, hot dogs, beverages and desserts,” Sanden said. “We will also have tables set up under the big, shady pecan trees next to the Wild Rose Heritage Center.”

The park is at 113 E. Bates St. Contact to inquire.

Tonight: Mansfield’s Rockin’ 4th of July brings it all

Head out this evening at 7 to the Big League Dreams park in Mansfield for all sorts of Independence Day festivities. Admission is free at this lovely venue at 500 Heritage Parkway S.

Sign up for the home run derby and hit a wiffle ball homer or burn off energy in one of the bounce houses. Then cool off on the fabulous ice slide sure to give you a thrill on the way down the slope. More action awaits at the smash car attraction where participants can relieve their stress in a good, safe way.

One of the area’s best cover bands, High Definition, will perform some good ol’ rock ’n’ roll music onstage beginning at 7:45 p.m. Then a special time to honor those serving in the military will precede the 9:30 p.m. fireworks display.

Details on parking and what to bring and what not to bring at

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