The 31st annual Denton Arts & Jazz Festival was a huge hit again this weekend, attracting over 200,000 people across its two and a half-day run at the twenty-acre Quakertown Park located at the center of downtown Denton, Texas. The free admission and free entertainment festival, which ran from Friday April, 29th through Sunday the first of May, provided great food, great music, and great art from over 2,700 local vendors and artisans.
Intermingled along with the humid Texas air were the sounds of music from seven different stages and the enticing smells of great eats from six food courts. I’m partial to the roasted corn on the cob myself, though my wife insists it isn’t an official Jazz Festival until she has a Texas-Size funnel cake. They had everything from taco burgers to fried OREOs, pie, and cheesecake on a stick. Every year we make sure to stop by Brown Sugar Antiques’ booth to peruse the collectables and pick up a few jars of salsa and peach preserves. Elaine Miller, Brown Sugar’s proprietor, always has a great selection to choose from. Miller does over seventy-five Texas shows a year, bringing unique and quality items to satisfied customers all across the state.
The roasted corn is good, but my favorite aspect, and one of the most important features of the festival, is the juried Fine Arts and Crafts show. Thirty-nine of the fifty booths for the show were held in the refreshingly air-conditioned Civic Center, this indoor setup allowed the fair to continue even as Texas storms brought rain and high winds Sunday afternoon. Artists and craftsmen traveled from all across the U.S. to showcase their work. Everything ranging from original oil paintings, acrylics on canvas, watercolors, pastels, and pen and ink drawings to wooden and bronze sculptures, professional photography, stained glass, pottery, and unique jewelry could be found and acquired at the event. This is a great place to find new and upcoming artists and a way to support the local art scene.
Another seventy outdoor booths were located on the north side of the park mixed within the other activities of the fair, in these were custom clothing, metal crafts, jewelry, artisan candles, paintings, masks, puppets, dolls, handmade toys and utensils, fine wooden crafts, leatherworking, etc. . .
We never miss a Denton Arts and Jazz Festival for the great art and good food, but it really is a family event. The games and activity booths attract as many people as the Fine Arts and Crafts show. With rock climbing, face painting, inflatable bounce houses and even pet adoption families come out every year for the memorable event. Nonprofits also take advantage of the festival, utilizing many of the information booths located within the park. Here charitable organizations can raise funds and awareness.
If you didn't attend the festival this year you missed an incredible event. But fret not, there is always next year.