Mansfield Living

Parading Pickles

Contestants compete in the pickle-eating contest at the St. Paddy's Pickle Parade & Palooza.
Contestants compete in the pickle-eating contest at the St. Paddy's Pickle Parade & Palooza. File photo

Mansfield’s St. Paddy’s Pickle Parade and Palooza will take over downtown Mansfield with nearly 100 parade entries, a pet parade, booths, bounce houses, concerts and a movie.

There will be Elvis impersonators doing stunts on mini bikes, the Pickle Queens, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and an Elvis tribute concert with Kraig Parker.

This is a big dill for an event that “started four years ago on a whim to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day,” said John Pressley, president of the non-profit Pickled Mansfield Society that produces the event.

“It really has become a community tradition,” Pressley said.

The fun starts Friday night with a free showing of the original “Grease” film at 7 p.m. in the amphitheater in Town Park, 500 N. Main St. Early Saturday morning there’s a fun run, 5k and 10k that winds through the streets of Mansfield, starting at 8 a.m. To sign up or for more information, go to pickleparade.org.

The Pickle Palooza kicks off at 10 a.m. in downtown Mansfield. The community stage, which is new this year, will feature dance troupes, choirs and other local performers. There will also be a main stage with performances by Run 4 Cover, Parker and the MP3 band.

No St. Patrick’s Day parade would be complete without beer so be sure to check out the beer tent, sponsored by Fat Daddy’s and opening at 11 a.m., and lots of things to eat in the food court, which opens at 10 a.m. And there will be shopping in the 75 vendors stretched along Main Street. Official parade t-shirts are available at Ray’s Pharmacy, 1831 E. Broad St.

There will also be a pet parade on Oak Street at 10 a.m. with dogs dressed up in various costumes ranging from pickles to Elvis. Awards will be given out to the best dressed.

The full parade down Main Street starts at 1 p.m. and had about 90 entries last week and could have more by Saturday.

Children can enjoy face painting, bounce houses, rock wall climbing and other activities in the Pickle Playground.

“You don’t have to spend a dime,” Pressley said.

And everyone can mix and mingle with the Pickle Queens.

These 16 ladies, instantly recognizable by their green dresses, tiaras and red wigs, have become “Mansfield’s rock stars,” Pressley said.

Pickle Queen Paulette Uzee said it’s an honor being a part of the event, especially interacting with the children.

“They ask great questions about us being queens,” she said. “It just makes them feel good. That’s what we’re there for, to lift up the community.”

Attendance keeps steadily growing, too.

“The first year we had 5,000 people, then 10,000,” she said. “We hope to have 25,000 people come to Mansfield so they can see what we do there.”

They’ve learned from past events, too, with the new PlainsCapital Bank parking, which will offer free parking for 700 vehicles on a closed Main Street just north of downtown.

If all this doesn’t get you pumped, maybe Jennifer and her fellow Cowboys Cheerleaders will. A team of four cheerleaders will be in the parade, shaking hands and maybe even posing for selfies with fans.

“We’re excited to meet people who are Cowboys fans,” she said. “People are pretty diehard out there. Definitely expect us to be pretty excited.”

St. Paddy’s Pickle Parade & Palooza

7 p.m. Friday; 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday

Downtown Mansfield

www.pickleparade.org

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