Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Eyes on Arlington: Inaugural Back-to-School Bash to help Mansfield students, families

Boy Scouts donated to the school district’s Stuff the Bus campaign that helped seed the upcoming MISD Back to School Bash.
Boy Scouts donated to the school district’s Stuff the Bus campaign that helped seed the upcoming MISD Back to School Bash. Courtesy photo

Before the bell rings on the first day of class, the Mansfield school district wants to be sure no student lacks the supplies needed to start the year off right. That was the driving force behind creating the Back-to-School Bash set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts.

“The purpose of this event is to bring everyone together from all parts of our community to enjoy a day of incredible fun before the start of the school year,” said district spokeswoman Hope Boyd.

“Along with a day of fun for all, we will be providing free health services and resources to our students. We will also be giving away more than 4,500 backpacks filled with school supplies to MISD students of all ages.” All Mansfield students are welcome to attend, and supplies will be distributed first come, first served.

Before they scamper off to class, attendees can get free physicals, haircuts, vision screenings and dental checks. Families needing assistance to apply for the free and reduced-price lunch program can get it at the event. Information on bus routes will also be available.

A carnival atmosphere is the order of the day, and kids can have burn off energy in a bounce house and have fun at all sorts of activities including dunking booths, face-painting, balloon games, a ring toss, catapulting chickens and photo booths.

Hunger won’t be a problem with the free popcorn and cotton candy along with a couple of food trucks and watering stations on hand to feed families.

“We have more than 100 vendors coming out to the event. The categories include healthcare services, tutoring services, social services, local business, PTAs, churches and much more. Each vendor will have a fun and interactive activity to engage each attendee,” Boyd said. Every Mansfield school will also be there to greet students and host a fun activity.

A Stuff the Bus campaign this spring raised money for the groundwork investment needed to purchase the backpacks and school supplies that will be distributed at the bash.

“Members from different local organizations, churches, departments and businesses all came together for this inaugural event with one goal: to help MISD students. We are grateful to our sponsors and everyone who donated their time, money and expertise to put our students first,” Boyd said.

Top-notch live entertainment awaits guests at the event including district fine arts students performing and a personal appearance by Mansfield resident and actress/singer Tamela Mann. Her hit television show, It’s A Mann’s World, has had two successful seasons on national cable network BET. Broadcasting live from the event will be stations 94.9 KLTY and 97.9 The Beat.

In charge of the event is the district communications and marketing staff headed by Assistant Superintendent Donald Williams. The venue is at 1110 W. Debbie Lane. Call 817-299-6349 to make inquiries or visit to learn more.

Auditions for Dance Theatre Arlington companies Aug. 16

Local nonprofit Dance Theatre Arlington will audition youngsters Tuesday who want to join its dance companies that perform throughout the year at holiday elf shows, local festivals, retirement and nursing homes and charity events.

But before the auditions, there is an information meeting at 5:30 p.m. Friday for parents and students to learn all about the theater’s mission, calendar of events, costs, time commitment and other details. Two prep classes are offered on Saturday and Monday where dancers can get their dance muscles back into shape after resting them all summer and learn an audition combination.

“We start with a ballet class — barre and center floor — before seeing the actual combination they have learned at the two prep classes,” said Executive Director Persis Ann Forster. The theater will kick off its elf show season by performing at Disney World. Later the students will dance at a spring concert performing works they have learned throughout the year.

Students will have the opportunity to work with choreographers Lyn Cramer from the University of Oklahoma and Tom Alexander from Washington, D.C.

Registration for the auditions is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and auditions begin at 6:30. Call 817-860-1327 or email to learn more.

Virtual tour of local attractions

As summer winds down, perhaps some are wishing they had found the time to do a little local exploring of what’s new, old, different and fun right here in Arlington. If this describes you, there may be a fast way to plot your course for a hometown tour by visiting the Pinterest pages that local historian and journalist O.K. Carter has curated. A few months back, Cater compiled photos of historical markers, public art and his own recommendations for great places to visit.

“The combination of history and awareness of cultural amenities makes for a powerful bit of combined information and sense of place,” Carter wrote in an email. “Arlington needs both.”

Inspired by the photographs of historic markers that Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Ron Wright had done many years ago and shared with him, Carter set out to add to Wright’s collection of Texas historical designations along with markers given by other entities such as cities or groups like the Daughters of the American Revolution. He has posted the fruits of his labor on a Pinterest page called “Arlington, Texas, Historic Markers.”

“Arlington is really quite the historic city,” Carter wrote. “Arlington, Texas, Historic Markers is not dazzling photography but so far as I know it’s the only place somebody can read the individual marker and find an address for it. Driving to them all would be an all-day project.”

Energized by the marker project, Carter decided to tackle something with more artistic appeal. As an aficionado of the wonderful public art found in our fair city, he believes that most folks don’t realize what all A-Town has to offer. He found himself driving all over town shooting pictures of statues, fountains, murals, sculptures and a host of other interesting pieces.

“Some of the stuff [may be] little more than tagger art and some of it [is] quite terrific and notable. Nevertheless it’s difficult to see it all without an eye-opening perception of the city’s cultural self.”

Spurred on by his own enthusiasm, Carter later decided a good companion piece for the history and the art collections would be an “Awesome Things to Do in Arlington, Texas Before You Perish” Pinterest board. He said he included the “big stuff” and the “not so big stuff” that “overall makes the city a really interesting place to visit.”

Be sure to let him know if you have suggestions for additions.

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