5 Gems of Denton Events
When: Last week of August
Where: 2217 N. Carroll Blvd.
Typically held during the last full week of August at the North Texas State Fair grounds, the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo has the standard fair activities: rides, games, fried food. But, truthfully, people come for two main reasons: the rodeo and the music. According to the fair association’s mission statement, its purpose is to promote “western heritage and values.” During the daytime, rodeo events range from rodeos for professionals, to amateurs, to children. The fair has also attracted country musicians from the country music’s underground “red dirt” genre. This genre provides a more “raw” sub-genre based on the musical tradition of Texas and Oklahoma country music, rather than the mainstream Nashville-based music.
Many of the artists who have performed at the North Texas State Fair have gone on to become successful musicians in the country music world, such as Stoney LaRue, Johnny Cooper, Radney Foster, Jack Ingram, and the Randy Rogers Band. Many of these artists have returned to the fair to perform after rising to the top. Admission to the fair is $12 for adults, $5 for children ages 7-12, and children under the age of 6 receive free admission.
When: First weekend of December
“Twinkling lights, choirs, bell-ringers, dancers and the aroma of spicy hot cider will transport the child in you to memories of Christmas past.” That’s what the City of Denton believes visitors to the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival will experience. Taking place in Denton’s historic square, this yearly event draws in thousands of spectators and is a thrill for both children and adults.
Besides the millions of Christmas lights twinkling amongst the decorated square, music from the Grammy Award winning band, Brave Combo, will jam throughout the crisp winter air. Visitors will also be able to walk the square and visit museums such as the Bayless-Selby House Museum, the Denton County African American Museum and the Courthouse Museum. If you’re feeling a bit hungry or thirsty, the squares numerous restaurants will be open and ready to fill your stomach with delicious food and warm hot chocolate. Interactive arts, photos with Santa, horse-drawn carriages, and a cider competition will also provide additional entertainment.
Although not directly part of the festival, the museum in the old courthouse is open and offers a great look into Denton history, a treasure for any history buff. The festival climaxes with the lighting of the tree around 8 p.m., but that doesn’t mean festivities are over, as music will continue well into the evening.
Admission is free to the event but visitors are encouraged to bring a unwrapped toy for the Denton Community Toy Drive. The nearest parking available is at the Wells Fargo Bank and The Bayless-Selby House Museum (BSH) parking lots, so we also recommend arriving early (at the latest, 6 p.m.) lest you have to park far away and walk a long distance.
What: Denton Air Show
When: Usually the third weekend of June
Where: The Denton Airport
Military power, crazy stunts, and machinery that will make you say, “wow,” all highlight the Denton Air Show. This yearly event pulls in thousands of aircraft buffs as well as families looking to be impressed. Held at the local Denton Airport, there is not a bad seat in the house when stunt planes go flying overhead at over 200 m.p.h. Every year, more than a handful of talented pilots demonstrate their capabilities to take modified aircraft and machete them through the sky.
The Denton Air Show is a fantastic way to spend a summer afternoon with your jaw dropped on the floor. Aircraft include the USAF A-10A Thunderbolt II West Coast Demonstration Team, Julia Wood Sukhoi SU-26M Aerobatics, the Texas Twisters, and more! Don’t just look to the sky either! The Denton Air Show provides over 25 different aircraft on the ground for fanatics to look, touch, and get their picture with. Food and memorabilia stands scatter throughout the event providing a way for visitors to refuel their tanks and also take a memory of the show with them, whether it’s a t-shirt, hat, or inflatable jet.
Admission to the Denton Air Show is free and the gates open at 10 a.m. The show usually lasts until 4 p.m. so make sure to bring the sunscreen. Coolers and backpacks are restricted so please be sure to arrive appropriately. Also, for the little ones, it’s a wise idea to bring earplugs as some performers definitely make their presence known.
When: Last weekend of April
Where: Denton’s Quakertown Park
Music, arts and crafts, tasty food and much more await visitors of the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival. Held on the last weekend in April, visitors are treated to a barrage of performances. Over 2,200 performers will take over 7 different stages and give it there all to please your ears. Proceeds from concession booths benefit a local art community where arts and music are cherished at every level.
Approximately 200,000 are in attendance each year for this free event. Visitors take all they can handle and are destine to have a great time. There is something for everyone and all ages. Painting, drawing and pottery just scrape the surface of the art festivities available for children. Rock climbing and small carnival rides are also available for children a bit older.
Once again, this event is free to all who wish to attend. Please arrive early as parking may take a few minutes with the amount of visitors arriving for the event. No pets or coolers will be allowed to the festival.
What: NX35 Concert
When: Usually the second weekend of March
Where: Denton Central Business District
The NX35 Music Conferette is a walkable, 4-day music conference that includes approximately 130 acts, multiple panels, Q&A sessions, and a trade show…all in Denton. Taking place at 12 different venues, NX35 has something for everyone. Last year, the band Flaming Lips from Oklahoma City, took the headline of the event and rocked out the crowd. This is one for the books as the local band scene will be exploited like never before.
Single night all-venue tickets are only $20, with the all-access tickets going for $65. Big heads up though, walk up tickets are non-existent, so be sure to purchase your tickets online and ahead of time.