Mansfield Opinion

St. Paddy’s Pickle Parade and Palooza on March 18 offers family fun 

The World’s Only St. Paddy's Pickle Parade will rock downtown March 18.
The World’s Only St. Paddy's Pickle Parade will rock downtown March 18. File photo

The World’s Only St. Paddy’s Pickle Parade and Palooza in Mansfield has become one of the area’s biggest celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day. The raucous events running throughout the day offer something for everyone. The highlight is a 1 p.m. parade down Main Street, plus a pet parade.

We caught up with the event spokesperson, Bob Kowalski, and asked for the lowdown on all things pickled.

Is it true that this year’s event will pay tribute to some special Mansfield history?

Yes, we’ve billed the event as: The Mansfield Pickle Queens ‘Need More Kowbell’ at the 2017 World's Only St. Paddy's Pickle Parade and Palooza as they celebrate the city's cowboy heritage in a tribute to the legendary Kowbell Rodeo.

Tell us about this year’s lineup of events.

The day begins with the Pickle Runs. The 10K starts at 8 a.m., followed by the 5K and the Kids K, starting at St. Jude Catholic Church, 500 E. Dallas St.

Atc noon on Main Street, the Pet Parade will show off the four-legged stars. At 1 p.m., the immensely popular Pickle Parade, featuring more than 90 entries, will make its way down Main Street. The Community Stage will provide a variety of local entertainment from 10 a.m.-noon and 3-5 p.m.

What are the perennial crowd favorites?

The world-renowned Mansfield Pickle Queens will be the stars of the day, wrapping up the parade lineup and greeting their fans in their green thrift store prom dresses, bright red wigs and glistening tiaras.    

They're not the only stars, though. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders return to the parade this year, as will the World Famous Wheelie-ing Elvi, wearing their white jumpsuits aboard their zooming mini-motorcycles. And of course, there’s the wildly popular Pickle Dude.

What bands will perform this year?

Headlining the entertainment lineup on the Best Maid Stage will be 10-time Grammy Award-winners Asleep at the Wheel in a free concert. The Texas-based eight-piece band will get downtown rocking with twin fiddles and a boogie piano. The Austin-based Western swing legends will take the stage at 6 p.m. at Main and Oak streets. They'll be preceded by the Run 4 Cover band playing at 11 a.m. Texas-born singer Coffey Anderson, an alumnus of NBC’s Nashville Star, will perform at 2:30 p.m.

What are some other attractions attendees will enjoy?

The Pickle Playground will feature bounce houses, crafts, a petting zoo and other free activities for children from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

From 10 a.m.-5 p.m., the Community Stage provides a showcase for local acts. Another highlight will be the ShenaniGuns! Comedy Wild West Show, sharing their antics in front of a Western town backdrop on Main Street throughout the day.

Will there be contests to participate in?

At 4 p.m. on Main Street, participants in the Kendra's Kreations Pickle Juice Drinking contest, the Pickle Eating Contest and the Mindy Lu's Fried Pie eating contest will battle it out for the top prizes.

What about shopping and eating opportunities at the event?

A food court, beer booth and vendor market also will be set up on Main Street beginning at 10 a.m.  

Who produces the event, and where do proceeds from the event go?

The nonprofit Pickled Mansfield Society, an all-volunteer organization, produces and stages the World’s Only St. Paddy's Pickle Parade and Palooza each March in Mansfield, the Official Pickle Capital of Texas. Beneficiaries of the parade and festival include Feed the Kids for Summer, Mansfield Animal Shelter and Trinity Habitat for Humanity.

Where can details about the event be found?

Visit the website at www.pickleparade.org or www.facebook.com/pickleparade or contact Bob Kowalski at txbobk@gmail.com or 817-988-0104.

Inaugural Gala featuring Sandra Brown will help ‘Build the Dream’ for Arlington library

The ‘Building a Dream’ gala will make its Arlington debut March 25 and will feature best-selling Texas author Sandra Brown. Hosted by the Friends & Foundation of the Arlington Public Library, the newest event on the local social scene will welcome guests at the Arlington Museum of Art for a special evening of fun and festivities.

Guests at this inaugural event will mix and mingle while enjoying heavy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails as they peruse a silent auction. Brown will visit with guests and do a presentation about the importance of libraries and books in a community. The event committee is led by Cindy Goodyear with help from members Bill Lace, Nancy Hadaway, Claudia Gray, Jo McGovern and FFAPL president Dorothy Rencurrel.

“This year will mark the first of what will become an annual Building a Dream gala to support the George W. Hawkes downtown library and will benefit the FFAPL’s DREAM: Central – Building the Library of Tomorrow campaign,” said library development director Andi Davis. “Funding raised through this campaign will provide the furniture, fixtures, equipment and technology for a new, state-of-the-art downtown library, where the people of Arlington will go to achieve their dreams.” 

Brown, recipient of the Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature, has authored more than 80 novels with most of them landing on the New York Times bestseller lists and has earned prestigious awards from the International Thriller Writer’s Association and Romance Writers of America.

“Most of the writers who inspired me to become a novelist were discoveries made in the library,” Brown writes. “Among them were Evelyn Anthony, Helen MacInnes and Mary Stewart — notable pioneers of the romantic suspense genre. I devoured their books, which to me were treasure troves of inspiration.”

Impressive silent auction swag includes a Dak Prescott autographed helmet, a collection of Sandra Brown autographed books and attractive gifts and products from local businesses. Acoustic trio Sara and the Saratones will entertain guests performing rock, Motown, blues, folk and country music. Library director Yoko Matsumoto will unveil exciting plans for the new building set to open in summer 2018.

“The new Arlington Library will be traditional in that it will have books – many,” Brown said. “But its contribution won’t be limited to book shelves. It will be an architecturally impressive, state-of-the-art community center, providing programs and services for people with widely varied interests and for all age groups.”

Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased at http://arlingtonlibrary.org/buildingadream/. Direct inquiries to Davis at 817-459-6924.  

In other library news, an event from 8-11 p.m. Friday at Worthington National Bank sounds interesting. Jabberwocky: A Live Art and Literature Experience will celebrate literature and the arts at a party with a unique speakeasy-vibe.

Guests will step into a world of colorful characters sprung from the pages of classic literature. Mixing with the guests will be the likenesses of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and others. Party-goers can also compete in a contest dressed as their favorite literary character.

Jazz music, parlor games, cocktails, a silent auction, art displays, a gypsy fortune teller, Hogwarts Trivia, Wizard Duel and live poetry creation will be part of the night’s action.

Admission is $10, plus a roll of a dice. Learn more at http://arlingtonlibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/jabberwocky.html. To inquire, contact Shannon Holt at Shannon.Holt@arlingtontx.gov 

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