Something we do really well in Denton is outside. Perhaps a better way of saying it is that we do outside well.

Spring is my favorite season. My father-in-law always said spring isn’t real until Easter has come and gone. His mantra was never put in a garden, no matter how tempting and promising the sun and warm weather may be, until the Easter bite is over. I’ve proven him right time and again when I give in to the sweet scent of earth only to have a last winter blast swoop in out of nowhere Easter weekend forcing me to start over.

With Easter just a week away, spring is almost here to stay, at least for a few weeks. If you know Texas like I do, you know that summer starts nipping at spring’s heels in no time. So I relish this seasonal window of near perfect. In fact, as I write this week, I’m enjoying my patio, my favorite home office. The yard is lush green from recent rains and hanging plants are rich with blooms. A bright red cardinal perches on the birdbath, unconcerned with our dogs lazing in the grass nearby.

Twilight Tunes on the Square (photo by Kristen Watson)

I love patios, and it’s something Denton has in abundance. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, happy hour, dinner, and after hours find us al-fresco. Our living room, the beautiful courthouse lawn, is peppered with people relaxing, picnicking, reading, napping, and playing under the canopy of vivid green, just-sprouted leaves.

Mornings on my way to the office, everyone from suits to students to families enjoy coffee at tables along the sidewalks. Lunchtime is the same, diners basking in fresh air recess from offices and classrooms. Late afternoons, music drifts from patios when work is shelved and leisure time is celebrated. I sometimes stand on the square drinking in the sound, basking in the comfortable tune of Denton life, as much a part of spring’s return as flowers and birdsong. I love our city.

We are fortunate. Neighboring communities might have a patio here and there, but no place in our neck of the woods embraces outside as heartily as we do here. Denton is magnificent this time of year, thanks to some among us who work without ceasing to make it so. Some, like Keep Denton Beautiful (KDB).

Saturday, April 22, is a Denton spring landmark event. KDB’s Redbud Festival at the Denton Civic Center and Quakertown Park will certainly put spring in your step if you haven’t found it yet. Music, food and family fun surround all things outdoors: plants, flowers, soil, supplies and, perhaps most importantly, trees.

The Redbud Festival is Denton’s official Arbor Day celebration, a community commemoration birthed by pioneers in wind-swept 1874 Nebraska. According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, those early settlers of the west desperately missed the trees that forested much of their homeland back east. They needed trees “as windbreaks to keep soil in place, for fuel and building materials, and for shade from the hot sun.” So they rallied town-to-town, and eventually state-to-state and around the world under the Arbor Day banner to reforest, a long-term sustainability strategy to meet skyrocketing demands for lumber as populations soared.

Carl Finch of Brave Combo performs at Denton Arts & Jazz Festival. (Photo by Ed Steele)

Nothing has changed since then except populations are far denser. We still need trees for all the same reasons. Arbor Day stuck because the need for trees has never waned.

Thanks to KDB’s leadership, keepers of all things naturally beautiful in Denton, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Denton since 1991 as a Tree City USA community. KDB knows trees. Our agricultural artistry does not happen by chance. It is orchestrated, a labor of love.

Especially in spring, our original independent spirit is evident outdoors. We save our Saturdays for outdoor shopping at Denton Community Market. We eagerly await Redbud, Thin Line Fest and the start of Twilight Tunes on the courthouse lawn all kicking off the week after Easter when, like my father-in-law preached, freeze threats are behind us and spring is in full swing.

Speaking of swing, the very next week, the last weekend of April, is the Denton Arts & Jazz Fest when people from near and far will descend upon the city for this most anticipated event of the year.

We flock to patios and lawns because they offer a vantage point from which we don’t miss a moment. We are immersed in and dazzled by Nature’s coming out. We plant, we play, and we party.

Visit our event calendar for details about all the Denton events coming up. It’s time to come outside!