Bring Your Appetite for Watermelon to The Park Cities Fourth of July Parade


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Photos by Ben Marshall

Anyone who’s tuned in to ESPN on Independence Day knows the hot-dog-eating contest on New York’s Coney Island has become a national tradition. Just as beloved — and much less stomach-turning — are the watermelon-eating contests that happen each July 4 in University Park.

Just as they have for the past seven years, The Rhodes Group will bring dozens of watermelons to Goar Park on Saturday morning so patrons of the Park Cities Fourth of July Parade can demonstrate their abilities to chow down.

While many companies give away branded products at the Goar Park festival, the Rhodes Group — a top-producing team of Realtors that includes Tom Rhodes Jr., Dan Rhodes, Burton Rhodes, Thomas Rhodes, and Neil Broussard — prefers to offer something more interactive and fun.

Their watermelon-eating contests must be fun, because they lure plenty of repeat competitors, Burton Rhodes said, with some kids bellying up to the table as many as five times. Unfortunately, practice doesn’t make perfect.

“They tend to get slower and slower as time goes on,” Burton said.

Win one of their contests, and you’ll be able to proudly walk away with a foam hat that brands you a Watermelon Eating Champion. And don’t be surprised to see those hats worn proudly by competitors of all ages.

“I’ve seen small kids beat the pants off of much bigger kids,” Burton Rhode said. “Size doesn’t make a difference.”

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Texas Discovery Gardens Will Present Flora Award to Tom and Suzy Rhodes


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Dan Rhodes, Tom Rhodes, Texas Discovery Gardens executive director Dick Davis, Suzy Rhodes, and Burton Rhodes

The Flora Award, one of Dallas’ most prestigious honors, has been presented in support of Texas Discovery Gardens since its inception in 1982. It serves to recognize outstanding citizens who have demonstrated a commitment to community service, education, and the advancement of the environment and quality of life.

Winners have included Jan Pickens, Ellen and John McStay, Ebby Halliday Acers, Peggy and Carl Sewell, Dee and Charles Wyly, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Barbara Hunt Crow. As of tomorrow evening, that list will include Suzy and Tom Rhodes, leaders of The Rhodes Group at Dave Perry-Miller & Associates.

“Suzy and Tom have dedicated countless hours to so many community and charitable organizations over the years,” said Stacey Beck, the 2014 Flora Award chair. “Texas Discovery Gardens is just one of the many that has benefited from their generosity of time, spirit, and financial support. They are truly deserving of this award.”

Flora Award proceeds support Texas Discovery Gardens’ educational mission to help children and adults discover and learn to sustain their natural world. Thousands of visitors explore the gardens’ 7.5-acre organic “living museum” and Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium or attend one of the many educational programs offered.

“We are so honored to receive the Flora Award,” the Rhodeses said. “Texas Discovery Gardens is doing great things in our community. Not only do the gardens have the wonderful butterfly house for all ages to enjoy, but the staff is teaching kids as well as adults the importance of our environment. Teaching kids about gardening gives a child a chance to learn an important life skill — the satisfaction that comes from caring for something over time while experiencing its cycle of life.”

Rhodes Group Featured in Story About Families Full of Highland Park Alumni


Tom and Suzy Rhodes graduated from Highland Park High School, and so did their five children. A third generation of Rhodeses is expected to follow suit. (Photo by Chris McGathey for Park Cities People)
Tom and Suzy Rhodes graduated from Highland Park High School, and so did their five children. A third generation of Rhodeses is expected to follow suit. (Photo by Chris McGathey for Park Cities People)

The September issue of Park Cities People features a story about families that include multiple generations of Highland Park ISD students. The photo illustrating that story shows three generations of the Rhodes family. Tom and Suzy Rhodes graduated from Highland Park High School, as did their five children, and two granddaughters are students at Bradfield Elementary. Tom Rhodes and three of his sons — Dan, Burton, and Thomas — sell real estate together as The Rhodes Group.