Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Communities across Tarrant County celebrate Independence Day

Stretching across several blocks in downtown Arlington, Light Up Arlington offers something for just about everyone. Kids activities, a petting zoo, carnival concessions, food trucks, music and fireworks are all part of the mix from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday.
Stretching across several blocks in downtown Arlington, Light Up Arlington offers something for just about everyone. Kids activities, a petting zoo, carnival concessions, food trucks, music and fireworks are all part of the mix from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday. Handout

Almost every city in the area has special festivities on tap to celebrate Independence Day. Families looking for a fun way to commemorate this important holiday can check the Star-Telegram for a comprehensive list of events or refer to the websites of cities throughout the area. Read on for details about a few randomly selected July Fourth events that may need to land on your holiday schedule.

Family 4th in Northeast Tarrant County

Grab the whole family and head to The Hills Shopping Center, 6351 Boulevard 26 in North Richland Hills, for hours of patriotic enjoyment from 5-10 p.m. Tuesday. The event includes a free concert, a slew of food choices, kids’ area, contests, a special ceremony for veterans and fireworks.

Headliner entertainment is Stefani Little and The Contraband, one of the area’s hottest party bands, performing at 8 p.m. playing favorite contemporary hits both old and new. Catch the show featuring the talents of local up and coming artists from 5-6:30 p.m. on the Main Stage.

Bring a hungry group and choose the evening meal from Chile Pepper Grill, Kidwell BBQ & Catering, Wayne’s Flame, What’s Cook-N-Chef and Zatar. Plenty of ice cold treats from such vendors as AJ’s Ice, B&C Snow Balls, Brain Freeze Events, Texas Ice Cream and Toadally Ice will be available throughout the evening.

And for those who are adventuresome enough to take eating to a whole new level, the annual Hot-Dog Eating Contest at 6:30 p.m. is ready for all takers. Is it a sport? Or a spectacle? Whatever — it is a lot of fun to watch and see who walks away with bragging rights.

All past and present military members are invited to participate in the very special Salute to Veterans ceremonies at 7 p.m. Each year this moving tribute is a crowd favorite. For the youngsters, experiences on several inflatable attractions will keep them happy all evening long.

“Later in the evening, enjoy the best area fireworks show with plenty of dazzling and stunning pyrotechnics starting at approximately 9:30 p.m.,” said Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce CEO Jack Bradshaw. The chamber hosts the event in partnership with surrounding cities.

Stake out an early spot for viewing the fireworks at the Wiley G. Thomas Coliseum or the parking area of The Hills Shopping Center. Attendees are invited to bring chairs, blankets and games to play while waiting for the display to begin. Check out www.netarrant.org for complete details and updates.

Bedford will host 4thfest extravaganza

Boys Ranch Park in Bedford will come alive with patriotism from 4-10 p.m. Tuesday. Spokeswoman Natalie Foster said, “There will be children’s activities, car show, live music, an annual salute to our soldiers, food and, of course, fireworks to conclude the night. And admission is free. Parking is available onsite for $20 and $15 at the Library.”

The kids’ area will have a big offering of free crafts and games for the younger members of the family. Also, a $15 wrist band good all day will include a visit to the InflataFUN section of the festival featuring bounce houses, slides and a challenging obstacle course for all ages.

Car lovers will enjoy the free car show from 6-8 p.m. presented by the D&D Rockin’ Rods. For anyone who wants to exhibit, registration for $15 is required. A fun awards ceremony will include recognition for Best of Show, Sponsor’s Choice, Under Construction, Rat Rod, and others. Call 817-797-1197 to inquire.

Performing on stage from 5-9:50 p.m. are The Inspiration Band and Poly Hwy, and a military salute is planned for 6:30 p.m. The food court will keep appetites satisfied with all sorts of festival food throughout the event. The big finish at 10 p.m. is a spectacular fireworks display. More at www.bedfordtx.gov.

Rockin’ 4th of July in Mansfield is Monday

It’s the 10th anniversary for Mansfield’s Independence Day shindig. Around 13,000 attendees are expected to flock to this popular patriotic event at Big League Dreams Ballpark.

“Mansfield’s motto is Second to None, and our Rockin’ 4th event is the perfect example,” said spokeswoman Ann Beck. “On one hand, it’s a free, family-friendly celebration like you’d see in any small town across the country. On the other, it’s an entire ballpark full of activities, live music, and an incredibly amazing fireworks show that ends with fireballs.”

Carnival style games, bounce houses and slides will attract the little ones, and a rock-climbing wall will challenge the older kids. Spectators and participants alike will love a home run derby and a car smash. And activities for tennis lovers will be offered.

Plenty of food and drink vendors will be on site. Guests are advised to bring some cash for those who don’t accept credit cards. Enjoy some great classic rock, country and current hits performed by local band Radio Edit at 7:45 p.m. And a military appreciation moment will happen onstage at 9 p.m.

For those who want to know what 2,500 pounds of explosives erupting skyward looks like, stick around for the 22-minute fireworks show that begins round 9:30 p.m. Plan to park at MISD Vernon Newsom Stadium and ride the shuttle bus to the venue.

“We love to go all out for our residents, and they love the sense of community events like this help build. Each year gets better than before, and our 10th is expected to be the best yet,” Beck said. Call her at 817-401-0134 to inquire or visit www.mansfieldtexas.gov

/event/6301/rockin-4th-of-july.

light up arlington festival happens monday

Stretching across several blocks in downtown Arlington, the Independence Day experience — Light Up Arlington — offers something for just about everyone. Kids activities, a petting zoo, carnival concessions, food trucks, music and fireworks are all part of the mix from 6-10 p.m. Monday.

“Arlington’s Signature event is expanding our footprint this year,” said event spokesman Derek DeBusk. “We have added more food trucks, expanded the two kids zones, and will have five areas of live music for everyone to enjoy.”

Contemporary singer Daphne Willis will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion. Her new single is “Somebody’s Someone.” The next act is Brad Thompson & The Undulating Band at 8:45 p.m. performing original music and a spattering of current hits, classic rock, dance and R&B.

Three other downtown venues will offer live music all evening. Check out the Grease Monkey with the Brandon Steadman Band as the headliner as well as the stage at the Municipal Office Tower featuring Young Stars & Guitars along with other acts. And at J.R. Bentley’s stage, Tamara King will headline.

At the corner of Center and Border streets, kiddos will experience live music on the Hank FM stage and lots of inflatables to burn off that energy. Younger ones will thrill to a ride on a miniature train and enjoy face-painting too. Food trucks will have some nice offerings and vendors will sell lighted and glow souvenirs. More youth activities will be offered at Firecracker Alley at Abram and Pecan streets. At the Rough Rider Remodel Kids Zone just north of the railroad tracks on Front Street, pony rides and a petting zoo will be in high demand along with more bounce action.

Around 9:45 all eyes will be on the sky for the dazzling fireworks as they ascend upward before shattering into thousands of sparks, tumble like a waterfall or float in a glittering colorful shower. Stake out a spot early in street parking or various lots downtown. Guests at the Levitt will see a break in the show at 9:45 for the fireworks and can enjoy patriotic music from 95.9 The Ranch during the display. Due to construction, fireworks will be launched from atop the Municipal Office Tower rather than City Hall.

Contact DeBusk at 817-575-8283 or check out www.LightUpArlington.com to learn more.

Please send your SocialEyes news tips to freeder@star-telegram.com. Keep up with even more community news by “Liking” our page on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SocialEyes.ST. Twitter: @FayeReeder

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