Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Eyes on Arlington: Mansfield pickle parade and festival next weekend

Mansfield Pickle Queens.
Mansfield Pickle Queens. Courtesy photo

Hello, Reeder’s readers! I’m filling in for Faye again this week — which is good news for me, since I get to talk about a few of my most favorite Arlington events and people. Let’s get started with a look at some big fun our neighbors down south have in store for us next weekend:

A pickle-perfect good time

The World’s Only St. Paddy’s Pickle Parade and Palooza celebrates Mansfield’s quirky side

The weather’s turning warmer and spring break is around the corner. That means it’s almost time for the Mansfield Pickle Queens to emerge in all their emerald glory for the annual St. Paddy’s Pickle Parade and Palooza, happening next weekend in downtown Mansfield.

The festival’s highlight is the afternoon parade that draws more than 90 floats and some national media attention that’s mostly centered on the parade’s superstars, the Pickle Queens. The red-wigged, tiara-topped, green-prom-dress-wearing collection of sassy Mansfield ladies (who can “stand up for themselves but know the value of an entourage”) have staged the pickle-themed, free community event for the last five years.

“It makes everybody so happy,” said Pickle Queen Sheri Curb, a volunteer for the Pickled Mansfield Society, the queens’ nonprofit organization. “You look around during the parade and you see nothing but hundreds of smiling faces, especially among the kids. We just love it.”

This year, the queens will again be joined during the parade by the famous Wheelie-ing Elvi, a daredevil mini-motorcycle riding group that performs crowd-pleasing stunts to the music of Elvis, all while sporting gold-studded white jumpsuits and sky-high black pompadours.

Other activities on the Palooza agenda include pickle-eating, pickle-juice-drinking and pie-eating contests, as well as a shopping market, dance contest, food court, a pickle-themed playground and fun runs of the 10K, 5K and kids’ variety.

Curb said that the organizers have added a few new elements this year, including a community stage with all-day live music acts, an appearance by the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and a pet parade.

“We’ve heard a rumor that one group is going to bring boy dogs with Elvis capes and girl dogs wearing poodle skirts, so we can’t wait to see how that turns out,” said Curb. “Proceeds from the parade will benefit SMASH, a nonprofit group that supports our city’s animal shelter.”

The details: The pickle jar opens with a free showing of Grease at 7 p.m. March 11 at Town Park (500 N. Main St.). The March 12 festivities kick off at 7 a.m. with registration and packet pickup for the fun runs (St. Jude Catholic Church, 500 E. Dallas St.). The market (Main Street between Smith and Broad streets) and children’s playground (near Smith and Depot streets) open at 10 a.m. The Pickle Parade (starting at St. Jude) begins at 1 p.m. Find out more: pickleparade.org.

Celebrating service

Arlington Woman’s Club luncheon honors founders

What becomes a legend most? At the Arlington Woman’s Club, it’s a special luncheon recognizing charter members Norma Dickey, Jo Johnson, Helen Krebs Maddox, Rebecca McKnight, Ethel Reeder, Nell Jane Reeves, Marjoray Wilemon and Angie Wilson, held last month.

The event featured a special presentation by club President Judy Duke, who gave each charter member a commemorative plaque, and musical performances by Dorothy Lynn Brooks, Susan Cosacchi, Barbara Burkins and Dewayna Tigner. Lucy Thompson and Sue Mattiage spoke about the club’s long-running scholarship fund and the first charter member luncheon held in 2004. Decorations were styled by Patti Bryant.

“This was a great party, and I’m proud of every member of the Arlington Woman’s Club and all that they’ve accomplished,” said Maddox, who will celebrate her 102nd birthday next August.

The club was formed in 1957, which means that the founders have a combined 464 years of service among them, as well as at least a half dozen college degrees, nearly 40 children and grandchildren, a number of professional careers and decades of service to a host of Arlington organizations.

Recalled Norma Dickey: “We went to the first meeting, paid our $10, and we were members. It was fun! We got to dress up, wear hats and gloves, socialize — and we learned to make chicken salad.”

Working from their pretty pink-bricked headquarters on the outskirts of downtown Arlington, the venerable service group provides college and trade school scholarships for Arlington school distict seniors, as well as other forms of charitable support that benefit community members in need. Recently, the members selected the Open Arms Clinic, a southwest Arlington nonprofit providing free healthcare for uninsured and under-insured patients, as the club’s current beneficiary.

The Arlington Woman’s Club is also devoted to the education and enrichment of its members, offering social activities, travel opportunities, lectures and more throughout the year. Find out more: awctx.org.

At a glance

We’re not finished yet, Arlington community lovers! Other events and happenings worth noting include:

▪ Now playing: Between the Junior League’s Glass Slipper prom dress drive, the upcoming Cinderella Charity Ball and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella playing at Theatre Arlington, it’s shaping up to be quite the magical spring in Arlington. This all-youth production of the classic fairy tale, directed by Elise Lavallee, is sure to delight children of all ages and anyone who believes that dreams can come true. The show’s last run is this weekend, so grab your tickets soon. Dates and times: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $15. Find out more: 817-275-7661 or theatrearlington.org.

▪ Free Christian music concert: Harvest America, a collaboration of churches across the nation, will hold a free concert at AT&T Stadium on Sunday. Headline acts: Chris Tomlin, Lecrae, Mercy Me and Switchfoot. Parking is $10 a car; the gates open at 3:30 p.m. Find out more: harvestamerica.com.

▪ Arlington on tap: If you like your cold beer served with a side of history, head to Division Brewing (506 E. Main St.) for “A Vision for Downtown Arlington,” the latest in the free lecture-and-discussion series sponsored by the Arlington Historical Society and Arlington Proud. The agenda’s likely to include updates about downtown Arlington’s residential projects, expansions at Theatre Arlington and the Arlington Museum of Art, the latest 411 on the WNBA team that now calls Arlington home and the Central Library rebuild. Date and time: 8 p.m. Tuesday. Guest speaker: Tony Rutigliano, executive director of Downtown Arlington Management. Learn more: downtownarlington.org.

Send your Eyes on Arlington news tips to freeder@star-telegram.com. Also, keep up with local events through our social media page. Please like us at www.facebook.com/SocialEyes.ST. Twitter @FayeReeder

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