Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Rise & dine for culinary one-night stand at Taste of Arlington Oct. 20

Serving guests at Taste of Arlington 2014.
Serving guests at Taste of Arlington 2014.

Taste of Arlington is fast approaching, and it’s time for food-lovers everywhere to take advantage of this chance to sample delicious food and drinks from nearly 30 restaurants – all in one visit, all for one price. No telling how long it would take to visit this many eateries doing it the regular way — one-dining-out-excursion-at-a-time.

We sat down with Valerie Galloway, the executive director of Theatre Arlington, because she’s the leading authority on what to expect at this 33rd year of Taste. Take notes to make sure you don’t miss a flavorful moment of the Oct 20 event.

One of the first questions people always ask is how many restaurants will be there?

Everything is much bigger this year than last. We currently have nearly 30 booths planned, and more are coming on each week. Many more restaurants are participating including some who are returning to Taste after being absent last year, and many brand new to Taste such as Division Street Diner, Restaurant 506 at the Sanford House, World of Beer and Andalous Mediterranean Grill to name a few.

What’s on the menu?

Bar Louie, Beef Jerky Outlet, Ben E. Keith, Birraporreti’s, Black Dog Pizza, Black-eyed Pea, Blue Mesa Grill, Bone Daddy’s House of Smoke, Cacharel Restaurant & Grand Ballroom, Catering To You (Candlelite Inn), Chili’s Bar & Grill, Dave & Buster’s, Division Street Diner, El Chico, El Fenix, Freebirds World Burrito, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Improv Comedy Club, Mariano’s Hacienda, The Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant, Nothing Bundt Cakes, On the Border, Restaurant506, Rockfish Seafood Grill, Sheraton Arlington, Sherlock’s Baker St. Pub, Spring Creek BBQ, and World of Beer. Check our website at www.TasteofArlington.org for the newest additions.

What about live entertainment at Taste of Arlington?

The Metroplex’s hottest band, Inside Out, will be playing their classic hits to keep the evening livelier than ever. And Theatre Arlington’s celebrated youth touring company SRO will entertain and charm Taste goers in the lobby of the ACC.

The auction swag on the website is impressive. What are some standouts?

We have a lot to offer bidders this year, and we are very excited about the Disneyland tickets and the Times Ten Wine Tasting and Tour for 10 people, as well as all the arts related items. We have quite a few sports items from our Texas Rangers and a suite at the American Airlines Center for a Dallas Stars game.

What's your best advice to a first-timer at the event?

Come hungry and wear comfortable shoes.

Advice to veteran Tasters?

If a veteran Taster has never purchased a VIP ticket, he/she should this year. We will have personal tables with complimentary wine AND wait service.

Taste of Arlington has a clever theme each year. What did you choose this time?

It was an easy and obvious choice this year to capitalize on the City’s re-branding initiative, Arlington the American Dream City. It was a logical decision to theme our event “Tastes of the American Dream City”

Since the event benefits Theatre Arlington, we believe our theme will help highlight the arts in the American Dream City. Theatre Arlington, along with other downtown arts organizations, is leading the charge to get the downtown area designated as an arts district. The American Dream City deserves one.

Who’s on the Taste of Arlington event committee?

Valerie Galloway, Kim Lawson, Michelle Hoover, Tim Hoover, Rene’ Demaree Amy Scott, Lisa Wilson, Melissa Unger and Beth Marshal.

Taste of Arlington is more than just an extraordinary dining experience. It also benefits a good cause. Tell us about that.

The proceeds go to Theatre Arlington’s extensive education and outreach programs. It will enable us to continue and even expand our ACT UPS program in Title I elementary schools in the AISD and fund ‘Camp Be A Star’ for homeless and transitional housing children. It will help TAG, our readers theatre touring company comprised of senior adults, to continue performingat area nursing facilities, schools and civic festivals.

Taste of Arlington does serve our cause but it also has a broader economic impact because it stimulates the restaurant business in Arlington by highlighting the many corporate food establishments, and also introduces new restaurants to our community. It’s a great place to meet city leaders, artists, business people and new friends.

A fun part of Taste is the contest. Who are the judges this year?

Mayor Jeff Williams, Jim Douglas, WFAA, Michael Hix - local entertainer, Hannah Kirby - runner up on The Voice, and Ron Corning- WFAA.

Guests will cast votes for: Best booth, entrée, appetizer, beverage, and dessert along with the congeniality award and healthiest choice award. Celebrity judges will choose the best new restaurant.

Anything we’ve forgotten to ask that you want to mention?

I want to reiterate that Taste of Arlington is back in all of its original glory — A huge event celebrating the cuisine of our city and helping a charitable cause.

How much are tickets? And what is the best way to purchase them?

Individual tickets are $40 if purchased in advance and $45 at the door. For groups of 10 or more, there’s a $10 discount. VIP tickets are $60 per person.

A special Star-Telegram One-Day Only Press Pass sale is set for Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Flash your Press Pass at the Theatre Arlington Daytime Box Office or any YMCA of Arlington branch Branch to receive 50% off the at the door price.

Purchase tickets online at www.TasteofArlington.org or call the Theatre Arlington office at 817- 275-7661. You can buy tickets in person at the Theatre Arlington office located at 316 W. Main or at any YMCA location in Arlington.

What’s the venue for Taste of Arlington? What time is the event?

The Arlington Convention Center, in the heart of Arlington’s entertainment district. Parking is $5 (before tip) in the lot adjacent to the Convention Center. We are open from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Kids love After Dark in the Park Oct 9-11

It's that time of year again. The leaves are starting to turn, the days are getting shorter and we might even have a day where we need a sweater. Sounds like fall festival time, and there’s none better for young kids than After Dark in the Park set for Oct. 9-11 at River Legacy Parks.

This family-friendly event hosted by the River Legacy Foundation for the past 18 years has everything imaginable to thrill the kids ages 2 to 10. It’s open 5-9 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.

Kids can hear professional storytellers, get tattoos, visit the Pumpkin patch, play ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ for a chance to win fun prizes from Six Flags. There’s more action adventures in the Pumpkin Roll Maze, Snake in the Hole, Pond Hopping, Jolly Jack-o-Lanterns, and Autumn Danglers games.

“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,” said spokeswoman Kristi Payne. “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.”

Don’t 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 on tasty festival fare including shaved ice treats, kettle corn, cotton candy and roasted nuts.

Park in River Legacy Parks and take a shuttle to the festival entrance. Admission is $8 per person for ages 3 and up. Or a Family Fun Package is $45 and includes four admission tickets and twenty $1 activity and food coupons (a $52 value).

Learn more at www.riverlegacy.org or contact Payne at 817-860-6752, ext. 107.

Hannah Kirby to headline Junior League event

Rock the Night Away with JLA is making its debut on the local event scene on Oct. 17 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 event is Tamika Tutt with help from an event committee that includes Misty Gammill 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.”

The vibe of the Junior League party will be a break from the mundane as guests 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."

To ramp up the fun, 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.

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 VIP Lounge experience and special VIP parking. Purchase at http://bit.ly/JLARock or call the Junior League office at 817-277-9481.

Learn more at www.JLArlington.org .

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

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