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Les Cockrell: Balloon festival set for Highland Village

The 27th annual Highland Village Balloon Festival is planned for Friday to Sunday at Unity Park in Highland Village and will feature live music, a car show, a 5-kilometer run, arts and crafts and food in addition to hot air balloons, according to the event website.

Sponsored by the Highland Village Lions Club, this year’s festival will feature pancake breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday, tethered balloon rides and balloon glows at dusk.

Festival hours will be 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. to noon Sunday.

Unity Park is at 2200 Briarhill Blvd. Limited parking is available in the areas around the park, and offsite parking will be available at Marcus High School with shuttle service to and from the park from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A $5 donation for parking is suggested.

In addition, the Denton County Transportation Authority will provide shuttle buses from the Highland Village A-train station to Unity Park from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Buses will be running every 20 minutes to and from the train station to Briarhill Middle School.

For a schedule of events and other information, visit


Park to offer guided hikes, programs on birds

Visitors to Ray Roberts Lake State Park this weekend are invited to learn about birds and explore the area on guided hikes.

An introductory class on bird watching is planned for 6:30 p.m. Friday at the park’s Johnson Branch Unit. Participants should gather at Pavilion 1, where they will learn about field guides and get tips for watching birds in the field.

Some binoculars will be available for class use, but participants should bring their own if they have them.

A program titled “Flying Feathered Friends” planned for 8 a.m. Saturday at Johnson Branch will help visitors learn more about birds. The program includes a short hike and will begin at Pavilion 1.

A guided hike to help visitors learn about birds, their habitat and the various trees found in the park is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday at Johnson Branch.

The “Vanishing Prairie Guided Hike” will cover about half a mile and will start at Pavilion 1.

Staff members at the park’s Isle du Bois Unit will conduct a “Lost Pines Adventure” at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Participants will learn the story of the lost pine trees and more about the area on the half-mile hike, which will begin at the Lost Pines Nature Trail.

Park visitors should bring water and sun protection, and hikers should wear sturdy shoes. Park admission is $7 for those 13 and older. For more information about Isle du Bois events, call 940-686-2148.


Library announces winners in summer reading program

Mercy Olusegun, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Olusegun Oyebode of Krum, won $50 for reading the most books in the Krum Public Library summer reading program, according to the library.

Mercy, 9, read 203 books between June 2 and July 31. She will begin fifth-grade studies this year. She also enjoys crafts and cooking, her mother said, and is developing an interest in baseball.

Molly Mayfield, 10, came in second, reading 173 books. Molly is a fifth-grader and the daughter of Walt and Sarah Mayfield of Krum. Her prize was $25. This was her fifth year in the reading program. She also enjoys arts and crafts, cooking and writing stories.

Children received reading logs to fill out as they read books through the summer. In all, 4,221 books were read by the children, according to a press release.

Of those books, 450 were read by the 18 children who participated in the Krum school district’s English as a second language summer school class.

Eighty children who completed the summer program received certificates.

Library director Donna Pierce said she was pleased with the results of the program.

“The first year I was here, in 2007, the children read a total of 1,333 books,” she said. “This is a terrific increase in just eight years. I would really like to thank all the sponsors, especially the anonymous person who donated the majority of the prizes for our carnival on July 12.”


Local Texas Master Naturalists set open house

The Elm Fork Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist program will have an open house at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 21 to provide information about being a Master Naturalist, according to a press release.

The location will be Trinity Presbyterian Church, 2200 N. Bell Ave. in Denton.

The annual event is designed to help the public learn about the program and the 35 projects that are underway in Denton County.

Enrollment in the training program is still open. Weekly classes will begin Sept. 2 and run through Nov. 18. Classroom instruction is presented at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, 401 W. Hickory St.

Field trips are included in the program to help trainees become familiar with local environmental areas and more. Educators and specialists from universities, state agencies, nature centers and other organizations provide the training.

The Elm Fork Chapter was established in 1999 and has 117 members from Denton, Wise and Cooke counties. For more information, call 940-349-2883 or visit


Good Samaritan Society offers seminar for seniors

Good Samaritan Society-Denton Village will conduct a seminar on senior heart health at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to an event announcement.

The seminar will feature cardiologist Dr. Christopher B. Cianci. The seminar is free. Good Samaritan Society-Denton Village is at 2500 Hinkle Drive. To register, call Tonya Hickman at 940-383-6345 or email


Event at mall to benefit Christian Community Action

Radio station KLTY-FM (94.9) will broadcast live from Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, sponsoring an end-of-summer drive to collect fans, school supplies and canned goods.

The drive will benefit Christian Community Action of Lewisville, which assists families in southern Denton County and school districts in Argyle, Coppell, Frisco, Lake Dallas, Little Elm, Justin and Carrollton.

The KLTY booth will be on the lower level of the center court in the mall, which is at Interstate 35E and the Sam Rayburn Tollway. For more information, visit, or call 972-315-3641.


Lewisville Animal Shelter to take part in adoption event

The Lewisville Animal Shelter and Adoption Center will participate in an “Empty the Shelter” adoption event Saturday, according to a press release from the city.

Various shelters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have been invited to participate in the event to help save animals, reduce overcrowding in shelters and promote animal adoptions.

The Lewisville shelter will waive its adoption fee between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, the press release stated.

The center is at 995 E. Valley Ridge Blvd.

For more information, visit


Dance company to present performance at theater

Simple Sparrow Dance Company will present a modern dance performance titled “DFW DanceWorks” on Friday and Saturday at the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater.

Tickets, $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors, can be purchased at the door. The Friday performance is at 7:30 p.m., and the performance Saturday will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Simple Sparrow provides dancers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with an opportunity to perform and present new works, according to a press release.

The theater is at 100 N. Charles St., between Main and Church streets. Free public parking is available along the two streets, or at Lewisville City Hall across Church from the center.

For more information, visit or call 972-219-8446.

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