Something wonderful about being Original Independent Denton is that our original, independent ideals, interests and expressions often occur simultaneously. This means no one can ever claim boredom in Denton. It also means that on some calendar dates, Denton is the center of a festival kaleidoscope. This coming weekend is one of those dates.
When we talk to the marketplace, the CVB does so with precision. What I mean is we don’t embrace the standard tourism mantra of old: “We have something for everyone.” That statement is cliché at best and completely insignificant in individuals’ ears. Social media and digital marketing allows us to speak instead to specific interests, a strategy that has set us apart from typical travel marketing noise. As I mentioned in this column a couple of weeks ago, one of the tools we employ to do this is our wealth of festivals and events. The colossal activity converging in Denton next weekend provides the perfect backdrop for me to explain.
First up is Oaktopia, Friday through Sunday. The description at oaktopiafest.com is an event of art, music and culture where, “100 music acts, pro skaters, street performers, live artists, vendors, and much more take over Downtown Denton.” Now in its third year, a lot of cool happens in this event. I can’t wait to see the giant 12.5-foot wide by 4-foot tall coloring book about Denton designed by Otter Illustration’s Matthew Gordon Sallack. Everyone, regardless of actual artistic talent, gets to help color it in. That’s original! And Denton’s own Audacity Brew House is unveiling their new craft, Lil d’ Series: Oaktopia beer.
So who are we talking to when we talk about Denton through Oaktopia? Local and indie music followers. Art lovers, and specifically those who appreciate grassroots and guerilla art. Skater enthusiasts. Beer enthusiasts.
A whole different audience is the target for the 22nd-annual Dog Days of Denton festival at the North Texas Fairgrounds Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Here, we are talking to the thousands who have dogs. If you are not one of us, you may not realize that we pine about our lack of quality time with our pups in much the same way parents feel guilt over time away from their kids. We talk to this audience about Denton’s dog-friendly patios, hotels, parks and our general dog-friendly character. As a result, Dog Days of Denton draws people and their canine pets from all over the country eager to experience this unique place where they can reconnect with their furry family members.
Together, dogs and their people enjoy a canine couture fashion show, live entertainment, demos and performances by canines and their trainers, “Glamfur” photos (making a memory that lasts), canine contests, arts and craft vendors, pet care information and rescue groups. See dentondogdays.com for details and check out Laura Cortez’s delightful story about the festival in the current issue of Denton Live, told quite originally through a dog’s eyes.
Outdoor lovers and families are our next target for the weekend. The Greenbelt at Lake Ray Roberts is the site for the 4th-annual Greenfest on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. What Dog Days of Denton is to people and their dogs, Greenfest is to families. It’s good, fresh-air fun including kayaking, rock wall climbing, fishing and a BB gun range on real ground under a canopy of real trees whose branches reach for a real sky. There’s nothing virtual about this experience, which is why families love this mini get-away-from-it-all. See greenfestdenton.com for location and ticket information.
We’re not done yet. Two major charity runs are taking place at opposite ends of the city Saturday morning. Denton County’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is at 8 a.m. at the C.H. Collins Athletic Complex and the Denton County Walk to End Alzheimer's is at 9:30 a.m. at Eureka Park. See their websites for registration times. Here, we talk about Denton to runners, walkers, fitness groups and these charity supporters.
We talk to people in arenas that they care about, and they discover a bigger Denton in the process of pursuing their individual interest.
Do the audiences cross over? Of course! Therein lies the greatest beauty of all. In fact, I plan to do the Walk to End Alzheimer's then stop by Dog Days and check out Greenfest in the afternoon. I’ll likely go to Oaktopia all three days. This is Dentoning at its best and an original, independent marketing dream-come-true for all of us at Discover Denton.