For the past 16 years, the second Saturday in September in downtown Denton has been all about boys and their toys. Okay, so it’s not all about boys. Lots of girls like cars, motorcycles and things that go zoom, too. This coming Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Square will look like a car collector’s dream come true.

I’ve shared before about my husband Tim’s penchant for collecting. Cars aren’t part of what shows up in our home, thank goodness. While he’s more a baseball guy than a car guy, get him on the subject of zooming around and watch his eyes light up.

091115_Ed_Steele_Photography_Denton_Main_Street_Association_Arts_Autos_Antiques_Denton_TX_79-Edit-2 Photo by Ed Steele Photography

Like most of us back in our day, Tim was waiting at the Driver’s License office on the morning of his 16th birthday. He couldn’t wait to drive the 1958 Chevy station wagon that he’d been riding around in all his life. When Tim tells it, he was quite the stud-muffin cruising around his small hometown in that big family-mobile with the snazzy manual transmission and real A/C.

The car he loved most, though, was that Karmann Ghia. It was his freshman year in college when he saw her, and it was love at first sight in spite of ragged upholstery and ugly paint job. He’d secretly crushed on his buddy’s Porche 356 for some time, and with the right amount of imagination, the 1965 Karmann Ghia was a similar roadster, same small shape, engine in the back. And it had a price tag he could swing on a college kid’s budget.

“I was young, the car was cool, so I bought it,” Tim said. After an interior makeover and a Dodger-blue paint job, Tim and the fun little Karmann Ghia spent four years and more than 100,000 miles together.

A favorite tale Tim loves to tell about their adventures is the day the Karmann Ghia died in the middle of nowhere West Texas. Upon towing her back to Clovis, New Mexico where he lived at the time, Tim met old Jack.

Jack was at least 85 years old, virtually blind and famous around the region for his skill under the hood. Tim said watching him work was amazing to behold. He felt his way around the Karmann Ghia’s insides better than a seeing man. When he finished rebuilding her, that Karmann Ghia was the dream car that erased once and for all any notions Tim held about Porsches. It even brought a profit later when adulthood and family life demanded a less sporty vehicle.

Tim remembers fondly her 2/55 A/C (two windows down at 55 miles per hour), the wind in his hair, backroads and hundreds of carefree road trips. He’s wistful about her still. “I That Karmann Ghia and youth are one in the same when I think back. They were a shared experience,” he said. “I suppose I’ll always miss her.”

091115_Ed_Steele_Photography_Denton_Main_Street_Association_Arts_Autos_Antiques_Denton_TX_229-Edit Photo by Ed Steele Photography

Both the Norwood Chevy and the Karmann Ghia would be worth a lot of cash today if Tim had been inclined to collect cars in the way he has baseball memorabilia. But that’s not the point.

The point is what Arts & Autos Extravaganza is all about: the cars and the memories, the road they covered, the eras they represent. It’s about all kinds of people, too. From guys like Tim who loved a car once to guys like old Jack who loved all cars always.

Saturday will feature more than 300 vehicles restored to near perfection: hot rods, classic and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles. They’re fun to admire. But my favorite part is the story that goes with every one. Owners will be here, too. Telling stories while they show off their wheels is what drives them to participate in car shows like Arts & Autos Extravaganza.

Obvious from its name, Arts & Autos Extravaganza is about more than vehicles. As for the art part of Saturday, musicians, artists and crafters will set up around the courthouse lawn. “Chalk Fest” will deliver art in motion on the sidewalks around the square. Artists of all ages and expertise create masterpiece works that somebody always ends up wishing were on canvas so they could buy them and take them home. Yes, they’re really that good.

Finally, Saturday is another Mean Green Game Day. Go Mean Green! The free, Jagoe-Public sponsored shuttles will begin running between downtown and Apogee Stadium at 4 p.m. for the 6 p.m. kickoff against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.

In original, independent Denton style, there’s always plenty of #dentoning to do. Join in! See you Saturday.

Photos by Ed Steele Photography