Category Archives: Family-Friendly Activities

Irving’s Unite for Troops honors veterans, provides for active military during Veteran’s Day event

Unite for Troops, a grassroots non-profit organization, held its 8th Annual Veteran’s Day Celebration on Saturday November 9 in Porter’s Army Navy store parking lot in Irving.

Unite for Troops was founded two days after 9/11 by Cindy Porter, who felt moved to do something to show support for our troops, domestic and abroad.

Volunteers were present to pack donated supplies into boxes to ship around the world. The boxes are decorated on the inside by helpers and kids for an extra morale booster.

“We are shipping supplies to our troops worldwide,” Porter said. “They are asking for more help because, right after 9/11, everyone was supporting them, but very few supplies go over there now. These supplies are going to the most desolate and desperate areas. We are free to do things like this and to live our lives because of our troops.”

The most popularly requested supplies are toiletries, various snacks, socks, batteries, puzzle books, flip flops and over the counter pain relievers, such as Advil and Tylenol.

Four colors of ribbons were available at no charge to pin on attendees’ shirts: Red signified an active soldier, Blue represented a retired member of the military, White indicated a family member or a friend of someone who is or had served, and Golden was a special ribbon for veterans of WWII.

There were plenty of things to do for people of all ages. Musical entertainment included singers and bands on the big stage playing songs that were supportive of all military. BBQ, hamburgers, hot dogs and homemade ice cream were offered.

Kids enjoyed their own area, which featured a petting zoo, crafts, face painting, a bounce house, games and even a reptile exhibit. A bull ride machine was available for all ages who were brave enough to take it on. Canine Companions and the DFW Humane Society also brought both service dogs and dogs available for adoption.

Santa Claus even made a special trip to the event to show his support.

“Santa usually doesn’t come out this early in the year, but he wanted to come out and support the troops. When he heard about it, he said he wanted to stop by in his camos [camouflage] in order to take the love and good wishes back to the troops as he heads back to the North Pole,” Porter said.

Irving Police Department brought vehicles out for kids of all ages to take a look at, including an official city car, as well as a Citizens on Patrol car, a half-track MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle and a drone.

Veterans were encouraged to bring  flags they had that needed a proper retirement, and a ceremony was held to do so in the afternoon.

The Troops of St. George had several fun offerings.

“We are a Catholic scouting organization here in the North Texas area,” said volunteer Paul Thies. “We represent a number of different Catholic parishes in this region. We are out here today to help support our troops in the field and to participate in the [Unite for Troops] Veteran’s Day event.

“With this tent, we are doing a number of things. We have a flag retirement booth, so when people bring their flags in, we will make sure they are properly disposed of [based on rules outlined in the Constitution]. They will be disposed of in the ceremony this afternoon. One of our leaders is raffling off a ride in a M*A*S*H Vietnam/Korean War era Bell 47 helicopter out at the Cavanaugh Air Museum in Addison. The lucky winner will get a 30-minute ride. We’re doing paintball as well. All of these things are to generate donations and 100% of everything collect will go to our troops via Unite for Troops,” Thies explained.

The helicopter was true to the TV show M*A*S*H down to its 4077 tail number.

Vietnam Veteran John Rose had his own booth, as he took over for Santa Claus when Santa had to go back to the North Pole. He said that he enlisted into the Army at age 26 and got sent to Vietnam for a year as part of a reconnaissance effort. Rose and four of his platoon mates lost their radios, so they hunkered down and learned Morse Code as a last-ditch attempt at communication because no one knew where they were. They were stranded for ten days. They finally received directions to a fire base and made it there on foot, where their commanding officers arranged transport home.

“What we started doing after we lost our receiver was to start going to Charlie’s [the enemy’s] supply depots and we started re-supplying ourselves with weapons, ammunition and a lot of rice. When we were done, we left a message for Charlie: We blew it [the supply depot] up,” Rose recalled with a grin.

“We made it to the fire base and we had long beards and nasty hair and we had hardly any sleep. I’m sure we were the sight. But they were happy to see us and we were sure happy to see them!

“After we made it to the fire base, we were all laying on the floor. One of the guys said, ‘Lieutenant, are those guys asleep? They aren’t paying attention.’ The Lt said, ‘They’re asleep, but make sure you don’t make any loud noises because they’ll wake up real fast and be ready to fight!” said Rose.

Fortunately, Rose does not suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) like so many of veterans do. There were several booths at the event collecting donations for programs to help with the transition to “normal” life as well as to fund programs to provide mental health services to veterans who need it.

For more information, visit UniteForTroops.com.

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Special Weekend Service for the 2019 State Fair of Texas

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TRE will operate special weekend schedules during the 2019 State Fair of Texas (see schedules here). The State Fair of Texas is open from Friday, September 27 through Sunday, October 20.

TRE passengers can easily transfer to the Green Line at Victory Station. The fairgrounds are connected to two DART Rail Green Line stations — Fair Park, located on Parry Avenue at the entrance to the fairgrounds, and MLK, Jr., located south of R.B. Cullum Blvd. and convenient to the Gate 6 entrance and the Cotton Bowl Stadium.

Departure times of the last TRE train to Fort Worth:

  • Monday-Thursday: 10:24 p.m. from Union Station and 10:33 p.m. from Victory Station (Last Green Line train to connect to the last TRE train from Victory Station Monday through Thursday is 9:48 p.m. from MLK, Jr. Station and 9:51 p.m. from Fair Park Station.)
  • Friday: 12 midnight from Union Station and 12:05 a.m. from Victory Station (Last Green Line train to connect to the last TRE train from Victory Station Fridays is 11:18 p.m. from MLK, Jr. Station and 11:21 p.m. from Fair Park Station.)
  • Saturdays and Sundays during the fair: 11:30 p.m. from Union Station and 11:35 p.m. from Victory Station. (Last Green Line train to connect to the last TRE train from Victory Station weekends is 11:08 p.m. from MLK, Jr. Station and 11:11 p.m. from Fair Park Station).

View the DART Rail System Map

View more information about DART State Fair service

Save money, hassle: Buy your 2019 State Fair of Texas tickets on the GoPass app
In addition to buying your transit passes, you can also use the GoPass app for Android and iOS smartphones to buy your State Fair of Texas general admission tickets. Show your purchased fair ticket on GoPass at the gates to get in. To make the deal even sweeter, you’ll save two dollars on every fair ticket by using GoPass!

  • Remember: Buy your tickets ahead of time but wait until the day of your visit to the State Fair of Texas to activate your tickets.
  • When approaching the gate, please have your State Fair of Texas GoPass general admission ticket(s) activated and ready to be scanned.

Police/Fire Public Safety Open House Oct. 5

71179915_10162665857215268_1408155218981421056_nMeet your first responders and take part in the Police/Fire Public Safety Open House scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 5 from 11 am – 2 pm in the back parking lot of the Public Safety Building (PSB), 1007 Ira E. Woods Avenue (the front parking lot of the PSB will be reserved for the public).

The Open House event will feature static vehicle displays and demonstrations by fire and police personnel: Patrol, Traffic, CVE, SWAT, K-9, Command Bus, SkyWatch and ATV. This year, the event will feature bounce houses, face painters, a drunk driving simulator, fire extinguisher simulator, a clown show, and vehicle extrication.

Complimentary hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, and refreshments will be served. This year’s first combined Police/Fire Open House will be bigger and better than in the years past. Invite your neighbors and friends to join you!

Sunset Live at the Gardens this weekend

71109372_10157664322307328_9014636213952315392_oThe Grapevine Botanical Gardens will feature 3 FREE nights of live music, delicious food trucks and an abundance of fun activities for the whole family! Join us October 3-5 for a FREE music-filled weekend! With bands like The Spazmatics (80’s Tribute Band), Infinite Journey – The Music of JourneyPOO Live CREW (Cover Band), Me and My Monkey (Beatles Tribute Band) and Motowners, you can have your live music experience any way you want it! Bring your chairs and blankets for a night under the stars with the family.

Doors open at 6:00 pm; bands take the stage at 6:30 pm. Looking for a VIP experience? We still have VIP tickets available for $25 at GoGrapevine.com/SunsetLive.

Sponsored by Grapevine Parks and Rec

State Fair of Texas moves opening day parade out of downtown Dallas

By Teresa Gubbins

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The parade will take place at the home of the State Fair. Kevin Brown/State Fair of Texas

The State Fair of Texas, which lives by tradition, is changing one: It will move the location of its opening day parade.

After decades of having the annual Opening Day Parade proceed through downtown, like a real parade is supposed to do, the State Fair is shifting the location to its home turf at Fair Park.

According to a release, the parade will now take place in Fair Park, to accommodate other events and activities planned as part of the start to the 24-day State Fair.

Read more from CultureMap Dallas…

Blue water returns to Galveston Island just in time for Labor Day weekend

By Rebecca Hennes

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Photo: Official Twitter Of Historic Galveston Island

Blue water has returned to Galveston island for the second time this summer, just in time for a perfect Labor Day weekend.

Galveston Island tweeted about the gorgeous view Thursday, asking residents if they had noticed the blue was back.

“ARE Y’ALL SEEING THIS WATER???” the tweet read.

Read more from Chron.com…

Editor’s Corner: The Grapevine Escape provides opportunities to exercise the brain, encourages teamwork

By Stacey Doud

GE Outside SignageMy stepdaughter and I recently visited The Grapevine Escape, located at 160 N. Main Street in Grapevine. We had a terrific time!

Escape Rooms are a relatively new form of entertainment in which the participants are “locked” in a room (there is always the option of leaving the room for potty breaks, illness or other needs) and are given 60 minutes to escape. Each room has a theme and a backstory.

Escape Rooms have gotten so popular that there was a movie made this year called, amazingly, “Escape Room.” It is classified as a horror/thriller, but fortunately, we were safe and sound in The Grapevine Escape.

FocusTecWhen we visited, our room was called “FocusTec Labs.” The backstory, which is available to read on the website, involved the Chief Technical Officer of the fictional FocusTec Labs going missing, and unfortunately, she was the only one who could keep the lab functional. Our job was to figure out a series of puzzles, find out what happened to the missing executive and escape the room.

When I say puzzles, I don’t mean crosswords or a box with 1,000 pieces in it. I mean that we had to investigate the room, find clues, keys, combination numbers and the like. It was a real mind-bender with some really awesome special effects. I am lucky that my stepdaughter has a natural talent for puzzles. I’d still be in the room had I been by myself! The rooms encourage critical thinking, teamwork, time management and problem solving, all which exercised our noggins!

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Co-Owner Amber Sebastian

Participants are allowed three hints, though our Games Master took pity on us and gave us a couple of freebie hints. Our Games Master was one of the owners, Amber Sebastian, who sat in a back room, watching and listening to everything we said and did. When we ran into a situation we couldn’t figure out, Amber was able to send hints to the television screen in the room.

“Building escape rooms is quite a challenge, but it is also lots of fun!” said Sebastian, who is co-owner, along with her husband, Russell. “We design rooms full of puzzles – a creative sandbox that kids and adults get to play in, and we simply love creating them! However, building escapes is only half the fun – watching teams escape them is the real joy,” she added.

The Grapevine Escape is not only fun for families – many companies use escape rooms as team building exercises. If more than one group books a room for the same time (10 people are allowed in a room at one time), then participants may be paired with strangers to give the experience a whole new dynamic.

There’s also an offering that I have never seen from an Escape Room company. “Escape Excursions” are travel rooms that are administered by The Grapevine Escape personnel in a remote location, such as a company, a birthday party, a family reunion or a just-for-fun party. While not as visually complex as being in one of their Escape Rooms, excursions offer the additional convenience and flexibility of the puzzles coming to you! 

While we didn’t actually “escape,” we came close and had a fabulous time trying. The Grapevine Escape currently offers three Escape Rooms. You can check out the backstories and learn more about the experience at TheGrapevineEscape.com or give them a call at 817-601-5663.

Grapevine Historical Society celebrates Texas Independence Day March 2

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​​Mark your calendars for our Texas Independence Day Celebration. We will be hosting an event on Saturday March 2nd at the Torian Cabin, 215 S. Main Street, located in Liberty Park in Historic downtown Grapevine, from 10 am – 2:00 pm.

​There will be live musicchili served from a covered wagonhayrides and lots of fun for the whole family to enjoy as Mayor of Grapevine William D. “Bill” Tate kicks the event off, in honor of Texas Independence and Grapevine’s 175th birthday festivities. 

Special Kick-Off Program at 10:30 am: Honorable William D. Tate / Council Woman Duff O’Dell / State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione / David Hansford as “Sam Houston”  

** Free admission!​**

Our March program will feature Jack Edmondson – a Texas Historian and accomplished author, whose works include The Alamo Story, several journal articles, performances in several films, and on the History and Discovery Channels. Since 1985 his primary passion has been historical reenactments of famous Texas characters including Jim Bowie, Sam Houston, William Travis, and General Tarrant. Please join us on Monday, March 25 at 7:00 PM at the Grapevine Public Library to hear his reenactment during this month as we celebrate Texas independence. Our programs are always free and open to the public with refreshments served at 6:30 PM.

Read more from the Grapevine Historical Society…

Gardening class and 4 other things to do in Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake this weekend, Jan. 25-27

By 

Several local events take place this weekend.

Friday, Jan. 25-Sunday, Jan. 27:

1. Theatre production in Grapevine

runwaytheatre-flybynight-5-768x576Runway Theatre premieres its latest musical production “Fly by Night.” Set in New York in 1964, the story follows protagonist Harold and his connection with two sisters. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. $22-$25 per ticket. Runway Theatre, 215 N. Dooley St., Grapevine. 817-488-4842. www.runwaytheatre.com

Read more from Community Impact…

Grapevine Parks & Rec ‘Snapshot’

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This week’s newsletter includes upcoming holiday camp info, registration openings, details on downtown Christmas lights, and a reminder that tickets are on sale to The Greatest Showman inspired Daddy Daughter Dance happening in early January!

Spread the work about Go Grapevine Snapshot, anyone can subscribe by visiting GoGrapevine.com.

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Downtown

Courtesy of Grapevine Parks & Rec

Check out downtown Grapevine’s Christmas light shows and attractions! Here is some of what you can expect right here in the Christmas Capitol of Texas®!

  • There is a synchronized lightshow in Liberty Plaza that includes singing The Chilly Dawgs, City Hall lights and the Chunnel. The show is about 30 minutes long and runs continuously from 9:00 am – 11:00 pm. This attraction can be enjoyed during the day, though it is more impressive after dark. Don’t forget there is 100% chance of snow flurries every half hour (6:00 – 11:00 pm).
  • At the Town Square Gazebo, our oversized singing tree performs a nine-song synchronized light show on top of the drum 24/7 right inside of Whoville. This attraction is also more impressive after dark. And don’t forget there is 100% chance of snow flurries here too, every half hour (6:00 – 11:00 pm).

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Grapevine Baseball & Softball (GBS) Spring Registration:

BaseballRegistration for the Spring Youth Baseball & Softball season is now open! In the spirit of the holiday season, we have a discount gift of $10 off your league registration when you register in the month of December. Divisions will begin to fill up quickly, so make sure to register prior to February 1 to avoid a late fee. The Spring GBS season will begin Saturday, March 23. Visit GBSA.org for division pricing and registration. 

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Sign up for Higher Goals Holiday Basketball Camps:

HGGrapevine Parks & Recreation has teamed up again this holiday season with Higher Goals to provide Christmas and New Year’s youth basketball camps. Camp is open to boys and girls ages 7-15 at all skill levels. The camps are a great mix of fun and learning and provides an awesome way to stay in shape during the holidays. Each camp is $90 for all three days. Please register at GoGrapevine.com, or for more information, call 817.410.3450.

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Subscribe to Snapshot at https://gograpevine.com/snapshot/ and read about many more activities at GoGrapevine.com.