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Les Cockrell: State park slates variety of outdoor activities

Hiking, a guided bike tour and opportunities to learn about animals, insects and spiders are among scheduled activities this weekend at Ray Roberts Lake State Park.

Hikers can avoid some of the summer heat by taking part in an “I Heart Texas Hike” set to begin at 7 p.m. Friday at the park’s Johnson Branch Unit. Participants will meet at the amphitheater near the fishing pond and will search for official symbols of Texas.

The guided bike tour is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at the park’s Isle du Bois Unit. Participants will meet at the Greenbelt Corridor parking lot on U.S. Highway 380 in Denton. Directions are available by calling the park.

The family-friendly, two-mile ride will feature frequent stops to allow exploration of interesting features of the park. Participants must bring their own bike and safety equipment.

A ranger talk titled “Leave it to Beaver” is planned for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Isle du Bois Unit’s interpretive center. Attendees will hear a presentation about the North American beaver.

Families can learn more about insects and spiders during a program titled “Quit Bugging Out!” planned for 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Johnson Branch Unit. Participants should meet at the amphitheater near the fishing pond, and a short scavenger hunt will be held at the end of the hike.

Park staff advise event participants to bring bottled water.

The activities are free with regular park admission, which is $7 for those 13 and older.

For more information about Isle du Bois events, call 940-686-2148.

For information about Johnson Branch events, call 940-637-2294.


Widows of America slates luncheon Friday in Denton

The Widows of America luncheon meeting will be at 11 a.m. Friday in the dining room of Carriage House Assisted Living, 1357 Bernard St. in Denton.

E. Curina Morris, president of the group, will speak on the topic “Let’s Do Things Different,” with a humorous, healthy and practical approach.

Cost is $3.50. To reserve a spot, call 940-365-1401 or 940-648-2540 by 8 a.m. Friday.


Bible study group to host missionary Charles Moore

The Robson Ranch Men’s Bible Study Group will host guest speaker Charles Moore at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the ballroom of the Robson Ranch clubhouse, and the public is invited to attend.

Moore, a Latin American missionary for Christ who has served for more than 40 years, will discuss his life and work.

To reach Robson Ranch, take Interstate 35W to Robson Ranch Road, turn west and drive about one mile to the development’s main entrance for directions to the clubhouse.

For more information about the program, visit


Denton County office offers docent orientation

The Denton County Office of History and Culture is gearing up for fall and needs volunteers to join its team of docents.

A “Lunch ’n’ Learn” docent orientation and training session will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4 in the 1896 Room of the Courthouse on the Square. Reservations are due by Aug. 30.

Volunteers can help as museum greeters, tour guides, in educational outreach programming to schools, in the research room and as amateur archeologists at the Taylor farm site. Hours and days are flexible.

“I really enjoy meeting so many different people from all over the world,” volunteer Lucy Larson said in a press release. “It’s fun to share the history of Denton and to see their excitement.”

Anyone interested should contact Gretel L’Heureux at 940-349-2850 or gretel.l’

For more information, visit and click on “Volunteers.”

The Office of History and Culture is located in the Courthouse on the Square, 110 W. Hickory St.


Film about civil rights hero to be shown

The Denton chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Gays and Lesbians will host a screening of the film Brother Outsider at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Silver Cinemas, located inside Golden Triangle Mall at Interstate 35E and Loop 288.

The event is scheduled to honor civil rights hero Bayard Rustin and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Featured guest speaker will be the Rev. Peter Johnson, who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and knew Rustin, according to a press release.

Admission is $12 in advance, $15 at the door and free for high school students with current school ID.

Tickets can be purchased at, and there is a link on the home page and the event page at


Odd Fellows Lodge 82 to conduct fundraiser

Members of International Order of Odd Fellows Lodge 82 will have a fundraiser from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 31 at the lodge, 1410 Eden Lane in Denton.

Homemade ice cream will be served for $3 a bowl, and the public is invited to attend and learn more about the International Order of Odd Fellows.


Registration opens for tamale eating event

Registration is now open for the ninth annual World Tamale Eating Championship scheduled for Sept. 28 during the Western Days festival in Old Town Lewisville.

The event, organized by the Lewisville Convention and Visitors Bureau and officially sanctioned by Major League Eating, will pay a total purse of $3,500 to the top six finishers.

The contest will start at 1:15 p.m. on the front steps of Lewisville City Hall, 151 W. Church St. Online registration is available at

The current world record is held by Joey “Jaws” Chestnut of San Jose, Calif. He captured the 2012 title in Lewisville by downing 102 tamales in 12 minutes, a press release stated.

The inaugural World Tamale Eating Championship was held during the Bassmaster Elite 50 Country Fair at Lewisville Lake in June 2005 and was won by Levi Oliver of Austin.

The World Tamale Eating Championship is part of a two-day schedule of activities planned for Western Days 2013. Other offerings include Texas country music on three stages, arts and crafts vendors, gunfight re-enactments, trick ropers, cooking and grilling demonstrations, craft beer tasting, a car show, a boat show, a children’s fishing area, a stick horse rodeo for youngsters, a 5-kilometer race, a 1-mile fun run, and a special exhibit of Western artifacts.

The festival is free, but a ticket is required. Free tickets will be available starting Sept. 9 at the festival website,

LES COCKRELL is interested in your input for Out & About. Help share information about Denton County events and people by calling him at 940-566-6887. His e-mail address is