Best of FriscoMay 01, 2016 ● By Christi Redfearn
Best trail to pop a wheelie: Northwest Community DORBA TrailDORBA stands for “Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association,” and thanks to the work of some Frisco cycling enthusiasts, the City Council and DORBA, Frisco has its very own hiking and biking trail. It is located close to Lone Star High School, just off of Teel Parkway, north of Panther Creek Parkway. The outdoor attraction opened in October of 2012, and was a true collaboration of efforts between the City of Frisco, the Frisco Cycling Club, the Shawnee Cycling Club and DORBA. The land is owned by Frisco, so all of the city rules and regulations apply to this park. Bill Woodard, the trail steward, says, “From the time we were first contacted until the Frisco City Council signed off on the agreement with DORBA to manage the trail, was just under one year.”
What makes this park and set of trails so great is that it was designed for any level of rider or hiker. The main loop (also known as “the Ranger Loop”) is fairly flat and open, which makes it ideal for learning. Mr. Woodard adds, “The other loops offer different types of challenges and difficulty and are great for people to move up in skill level.” When exploring this trail, always remember to put safety first! Wear a helmet, bring water and have a spare tube in case of a flat. Look at the maps ahead of time to get an idea of where you will be going on your mini-adventure. It is also important to follow trail rules and never ride or hike a closed trail. This local escape offers a fun option for enjoying the summer sunshine outdoors. Test your athletic limits in a safe way, and get some great exercise!
The Annual Daddy Daughter and Mother Son DancesMany parents are looking for a way to get away from the business of everyday life — sports activities, PTA events, school fundraisers and more — and spend quality time, one-on-one, with their children. The best memories are often made away from the day-to-day hustle and bustle. That is where the annual Frisco Daddy Daughter and Mother Son dances come to the rescue! Each dance is held at the Frisco Convention Center at different times during the day and early evening, targeted for specific age groups (because we all know the trouble that comes from letting your young children stay up past their bedtimes). Professional photographers can even take keepsake pictures of you and your precious baby.
Last year’s Mother Son Dance had a disco seventies theme and the Daddy Daughter Dance, held this past February, offered a special spa discount from Embassy Suites for moms, while their husbands and daughters danced the night away. Be sure not to miss the next round of dances with your kids. This has been a Frisco tradition for more than a decade! Plus, it is not every day that you get to show off your dance moves in front of your kids (while possibly embarrassing them). Some time slots sell out quickly, so be sure to buy your tickets early.
Best place to join a club: The Frisco Public LibraryDo you love books? Do you search in agony for people who will let you talk about the four books you are currently reading, only to be met with blank stares? The Frisco Public Library has your reading needs covered! Thomas Finley, the adult services manager for the library, says, “These clubs are at the very root of the library itself.” The library started as a group of volunteers who got together to create a summer reading club. “One of the basic things we do is bring people together to share and create knowledge,” Mr. Finley says. Currently, there are six book clubs and two writing clubs. They are intended for adults, but they have found success in the young adult book category, where teens and adults can discuss a passion together, if they wish. The library wants teens to have their own space so they feel comfortable coming in more often. These clubs end up being run by volunteers and are kept going or ended based on interest. “The clubs are based on community response. People vote with their feet,” Mr. Finley says. To add to it, the librarians scour the country for what is working in other libraries to make sure Frisco’s offerings are up to date, generate interest and entice people to join. If you are looking for some book-loving friends or you have an idea for a new club, be sure to check out the Frisco Public Library website for more information.
Best BBQ for a cause: Camp Craig Allen Annual Amateur BBQCamp Craig Allen, a local organization started by Dawn Cruzan, seeks to provide for overlooked, physically disabled children, adults and veterans of North Texas. Its largest fundraiser is its Annual Amateur BBQ.
To pull off the popular event, it takes the team about 10-12 months of preparation, including marketing, bringing in sponsors, recruiting volunteers, logistics and more. There is great pressure to make each year’s event better than the last. Amanda Hall of Camp Craig Allen says, “My personal favorite part of the event is the opportunity to show everyone in attendance what the disabled community can accomplish with the proper support, like what we give through Camp Craig Allen.”
The nonprofit started from humble beginnings — a group of friends wanting to make a difference. It has been nearly a decade now, and they have helped thousands of people. This BBQ helps further their mission and provide unlimited activities and resources for the local disabled community. Not to mention, attendees will get to taste test some of the best BBQ they can get their hands on. Local people are making a real difference in the lives of others, and for that, our city is truly blessed. Mark your calendar! This year’s event will be on Oct. 7-8 at Toyota Stadium.
Best way to make your mark: Frisco’s historical markersThe Heritage Association of Frisco is a nonprofit organization that began in 1998. Its aim is to preserve Frisco’s history through research, preservation and sharing that information with residents and tourists. During the bond election of 2006, the Heritage Center and Museum came to life, and the association helps the city by providing volunteers, hosting events and creating awareness through exhibits and student tours. Linda Sutton, a founding member of the Heritage Association, says they have marked 32 sites with historical markers. Her favorite is the Twin Wells site because “the history goes back even further than the city itself.” There is an area historically known as the Old Donation, which consists of several homes north and south of old Main Street, but none of these homes were donated. In 1902, there was an auction where lots were sold and people either built homes or had them moved onto their new properties. Pioneers would stop by the area as they traveled south.
The history is rich, and recognizing the need to keep it alive, Frisco has come up with criteria to earn a historical site marker. With that status can come tax abatements and other advantages, so the Heritage Association encourages people to research the history of their homes. In April, the Ellis House was the first location to receive a marker in five years. The Heritage Association recognizes that it can be difficult to understand the research process and fulfill the criteria to get these tax advantages, so they are hosting a class on May 14, from 1-4 p.m., to help people go through the process. If you have an older home you believe may qualify, this event could be just the education you need to move forward!
Best place to pass the time: Water Tower with clock baseDid you know we have a water tower with a clock built into its base? This particular tower is located on Eldorado Parkway between Coit and Hillcrest Roads. With the help of this unique landmark, you do not have to worry about being late to that next event, meeting or to pick up the kids. The structure is somewhat unusual, but very helpful to those driving by! There are many to see in Frisco, but this water tower might be one of the more noteworthy structures. Not everyone can boast about a water tower with a clock built right in to its base!
Best way to stay “in the know:” Frisco City Council“Transparency” is a word that the Frisco City Council takes very seriously. They want to make sure every citizen has the opportunity to get involved, no matter what their background, schedule or comfort level is. Currently, City Council meetings can be viewed in person, via telephone conference or by live streaming on your computer. If you cannot attend meetings in real time, they are archived and easily accessible, based on the issue you might be interested in. Mayor Maher Maso explains, “We always use the latest technology available at the time to communicate with our residents. It was a progression.”
The council recognizes that everyone is different, so while they make every effort to stay on the cutting edge, they maintain older methods of communication, such as newsletters, to make sure all residents stay informed of what is going on in our growing and changing city. Mini town halls used to be the norm, where council members would go to different neighborhoods and engage in conversation with citizens. As Frisco grew (and continues to grow), it has become difficult to go to every neighborhood and engage with citizens effectively. So, they started having regular town hall meetings at City Hall, where citizens are invited to show up.
Technology changes, but the desire to engage as many residents as possible will not. Do not miss your chance to share your opinion and have a voice about an issue that is important to you. Frisco is lucky to have so many tools and resources to engage with City Council, so being a strong member of the community is easier than ever. Regular meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month.
Best stage to rock out on: Music in the SquareThis year, Frisco’s popular Music in the Square event, which takes place on Fridays in June, on the Simpson Plaza lawn in front of City Hall, will kick off its sixth year of celebrating local talent. This is a free event, so everyone can come out and enjoy music from talented performers. Lara Hansen, the social media, marketing and community manager for Frisco Square, says, “It is a very laid-back, relaxing, come-as-you-are event. Bring friends and family. Kids have a great time.”
It can be a little different, depending on the music group/individual performing that night, but in 2015, on average, 900 people attended each event. There are different sponsors out each night, sometimes food trucks show up and people bring picnics, blankets and chairs to make the most of a relaxing summer evening outside. You might even catch a glimpse of a couple of dancers who get so lost in the music, they just cannot help themselves!
Music in the Square brings in different genres of performers for each event. Be sure to check the Frisco Square website for more information on this year’s lineup. New and special this year is Mazie’s Mission, a local nonprofit, dedicated to taking care of animals in need, that will host pet adoptions for a couple of the events. Can you think of a better way to enjoy yourself this summer?
Best place to host a birthday bash: The National Videogame MuseumThe opening of the National Videogame Museum has been anticipated by many gamers for a long time now! Finally, the doors are open and it is time to surround yourself in a world of technology and make-believe. The museum’s mission is “to preserve the history of the videogame industry by archiving not only the physical artifacts, but also the information and stories behind its creation.” Believe it or not, videogames have been around since the 1950s, in some form, and pioneers of the industry went through a lot to get attention for their work!
It is safe to bet that most kids in Frisco have a favorite game they like to play. Why not give them a history lesson while entertaining them and their friends at the same time? The museum will begin to host birthday parties this summer. Parties are being designed by gaming enthusiasts and industry experts to feature creative, hands-on learning with a STEM focus. Many people may not realize it, but a lot of math and science go into developing videogames, and kids, as well as parents, can have a new appreciation for what goes into creating these games after exploring the interactive museum for themselves. Now, parents will not have to explain what Pong was to their children and kids will not have to explain the in-depth storylines that go into today’s spectacular games. Families can experience the evolution of the gaming world, while hosting one of the coolest birthday parties in town. Pass the cake!
Best laboratory to conduct an experiment: Frisco Sci-Tech Discovery CenterSTEM is an acronym many parents hear non-stop these days. The struggle to make science and math more interesting to kids is very real and many parents cannot find a way to make that kind of learning fun. Sci-Tech Discovery Center is here to help! In 2015, the Discovery Center had 57,000 visitors, and there is a reason kids and families keep coming back for more. Popular exhibits, including bubble tables and unique building blocks, stay in the space all year long, but the museum seeks to add new and exciting things every year. Debbie Cross, who is in charge of sales and registration for the center, says, “Our director will spend several months looking at all the exhibits available. We look for what will work for local school districts and what will fit in our space.” There are some annual events, such as Science With a Princess, that draw large crowds. The Countdown to Noon event on Dec. 31 is very popular and fun for kids of all ages. This past New Year’s Eve event included craft projects, science experiments and a big balloon drop at noon (because midnight just does not work for young kids).
Be on the lookout for some new exhibits, like the Conservation Quest and Water’s Extreme Journey Maze. Conservation Quest is designed to teach kids about energy — what it is, where it comes from and why it is important to conserve. Water’s Extreme Journey Maze details the journey for clean water and lets kids explore, firsthand, what happens to each water drop. It demonstrates where water drops go, how they are used and how you can make sure water is used wisely at home.
The best way to stop and smell the roses: Frisco Garden ClubThe Frisco Garden Club’s mission, “A flower in every garden; joy in every heart,” is simple, but this club does more than just teach people how to take better care of their yards. The group meets on the third Tuesday of the month, from September to May, at the Stonebriar Country Club. There, they enjoy an informative presentation, business meeting and buffet lunch.
This group wants to help educate gardeners (of every level of expertise) on how to properly maintain gardens and lawns through smart planting and water conservation. The group has a couple of very important joint efforts with the Frisco Parks and Recreation Department, including Freedom Meadow, which is located on the northeast corner of Warren Sports Complex. The club’s president, Amy Deatherage, says, “Dedicated on Sept. 11, 2002, this park memorializes all victims of terrorist attacks.” A solemn scattering of seeds happens every year on 9/11, and special recognition occurs every five years, with city-wide support. 2016 will be one such partnered event — the fifteenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93.
The Buffalo Stomp also occurs at Freedom Meadow, and is held around late October or early November. This event educates youth on the importance of preserving the blackland prairies, as well as honoring the memory of our fallen citizens.
Whether you are new to the gardening world or a seasoned gardener, the Frisco Garden Club offers new friendships and the chance to make a difference in the overall beauty of the community. Help keep Frisco gorgeous!
Best way to serve your community: The Rotary Club of FriscoIf you have a calling to serve the Frisco community, look no further than the Rotary Club of Frisco. The local chapter meets every Thursday at noon at Toyota Stadium, but if lunch does not work for you, there is also the Sunrise Rotary Club of Frisco (a sister chapter for Frisco) that meets for discussion over breakfast.
One of the service projects the club is responsible for is the Frisco Rotary Farmers’ Market, which they took over from the Lion’s Club. The Market currently runs from May to October and has recently moved from Frisco Square to the parking lot behind the School of Rock and the Frisco Chamber of Commerce.
The club’s involvement with youth is unparalleled. There are student of the month projects for elementary and high school students and there are speech contests that offer the chance for scholarships. The Rotary Club of Frisco hosts leadership camps, foreign exchange student sponsorships and much more. Stephanie Wagoner, the club president, says, “As these students go out in the world, they will see Rotary signs and make a connection.”
Be sure to say “hi” to the Rotary members volunteering with the Frisco Fire Safety Town for Halloween! They hand out books (instead of candy), and they note that kids get very involved in picking out exactly the book they want. Not only do members make an impact locally, but they make a difference internationally. They help provide clean water in India and Nicaragua, and help fund polio vaccines in various parts of the world. In 2015 alone, the Rotary Club donated 1,200 hours of time to various service projects. Will you help grow that number in 2016?