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Mansfield Magazine

Mansfield Water Utilities Celebrates 100th Birthday & You're Invited

Sep 20, 2017 07:11PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Mansfield's Water Utilities team planning games for the event.

This year marks the 100th birthday for Mansfield's Water Utility department. 

Mansfield's Water Utilities team
planning games for the event.

In 1917, Milton May Farr improved the water supply in Mansfield. Although he wasn't the first to bring drinking water to Mansfield, he certainly was a pioneer and made a huge impact on the community. This year, the city wanted to celebrate all those involved with Mansfield Water Utilities, including the community.

We got in touch with Stephanie Zavala, Public Education Specialist for Water Utilities and Environmental Services, to learn more about this fun city-wide event.

"We have two events celebrating the 100 year birthday," Zavala told us. "The first is a community-wide event that everyone is invited to. This is the birthday party that will be at The LOT Downtown from 5-8 pm, tomorrow, Sept 21. We partnered with Third Thursday who is having a program the same night. We were asked to be the entertainment."

The Farr Best Theater also turns 100 this year and will be having a brief program and then showing Tarzan at the theater at 6 pm. This was the first film shown at the theater in 1917.

"The reason we have a shared birthday is that we are connected by the same man, M.M. Farr," Zavala said. "While Mansfield did have a pump and well prior to M.M. Farr, he is greatly responsible for developing the infrastructure of the distribution system in 1917. Our research began two years ago after Arianne Shipley, my coworker, read an article about the Farr Best Theater turning 100 in 2017 and mentioned that M.M. Farr brought electricity, a theater, and a water system to Mansfield. We then started digging and unearthed the story of water in Mansfield. We used where we are today to tell the story of the ties water has to the history of our city in a commemorative book."

The book that Zavala and Shipley collaborated on will be released on Oct 12 at the Farr Best Theater. The private book launch coincides with "Imagine a Day Without Water," a national campaign to raise awareness of the value of water and investing in infrastructure.

A limited number of copies will be printed, so Zavala invites local Mansfield residents to reserve a copy of the book. "They can reserve a copy by signing up for the Water 360 monthly newsletter at and then emailing us at" 

We wanted to know more about the party, Zavala let us know that "the community-wide birthday party at the LOT is a free event that will include family-friendly life-size games that everyone is familiar with. However, the twist is that each game will have an educational tie to water."

Expect to see things like Hungry Hungry Hippos being renamed to "Thirsty Thirsty Barrels," the focus being all about conservation where the players will be residents trying to save rain drops. "The winners of the games will get tickets that they can exchange for prizes, including our very own official birthday t-shirt and official birthday cupcake designed by Creations Bakery," Zavala said.  

The Water Utilities Games:

  • "Poops and Splatters" aka Chutes and Ladders (learn about the water system)
  • "Defend Your Drain Hole" aka Cornhole (learn about what NOT to put down your drain, some are not as obvious as people think.)
  • "Battle Dig aka Battleship" (learn to call 811 before digging to prevent busting utility lines)
  • "Stormwater Foosball" (learn why it's important that only rain go down the stormdrain)
  • "Angry Larvae" aka Angry Birds (learn why to dump puddles to prevent mosquito larvae from growing)
  • "Water Drop Pool" aka Soccer Pool (learn some water facts)
  • "Rain Barrel Pong" (conserving water in rain barrels)
  • "Thirsty Thirsty Barrels" aka Hungry Hungry Hippos (save as many drops as you can)

The games were all built by the Water Utilities staff. "As a team-building exercise, our staff broke into groups and planned and built each game that will be at the party."

There will also be a Water Walk, where people can get a glimpse of what it's like for the 2.1 billion people in the world that lack access to safe water at their home. They will carry a gallon of water around the perimeter of the LOT which represents only a mere fraction of the distance people walk to get water across the world. These people, primarily women and children, are carrying up to five gallons of water, which weighs more than 40 pounds. They walk a minimum of 30 minutes per trip every single day.  

The sponsor of the festivities, Master Meter, Inc, is providing a dunk tank and a mechanical bull. The dunk tank will be raising funds for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), to assist in the hurricane relief efforts. In order to dunk someone, you will have to make a donation and you will get three tries. The Mayor will be the first person in the dunk tank at 5:15. "We also have our code compliance supervisor, our police chief, our fire chief, and Director of Water Utilities lined up to be dunked." 

Mansfield Water Utilities 100 Year Birthday Party - start Sep 21 2017 0500PM

Mansfield Water Utilities 100 Year Birthday Party - Sep 21, 2017 5:00PM

Come join Mansfield Water Utilities as we celebrate our 100 year birthday complete with family friendly life sized games such as Hungry Hungry Hippo and Battleship. Come celebrate and lea... Read More » 


"Everything is free," Zavala said of the event. "We just ask for those newsletter sign-ups. We have so many free programs, services, events, and community service opportunities that we are trying to get out to more people."

We hope to see you there! 

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