Beginning tomorrow, Quakertown Park will be a-buzz. Stages and vendor tents will go up. Fencing, signs, tables and chairs will be placed. Grills will heat up. Seasoned fest-preppers will stake their picnic spreads. It’s all preparation for one of Denton’s biggest weekends of the year when an estimated 225,000 people will turn out for the Denton Arts & Jazz Fest.
Among the throng will be more than 3,000 entertainers, some 500 vendors, and many, many visitors. People across North Texas and far beyond look forward to Arts & Jazz Fest as much as we do. This is a premier weekend for Denton, one where we shine. And of the visitors wooed to town by the festival, some will discover Denton for the very first time.
Which is why it is the fitting moment for the Denton Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Discover Denton Welcome Center (DDWC) to arrive on the Denton scene. Yes! We will be open in our new location on the square at 111 W. Hickory from noon to 9 p.m. on Friday, Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday noon to 7 p.m. Our mission? Facilitating a complete Dentoning experience, Arts & Jazz Fest included.
Image courtesy of Ed Steele Photography.
For the sake of transparency, we are not completely moved in yet. We will close again Sunday night to reopen for good in mid-May. But this weekend, we have a surprise for Denton!
Dan Black is a Denton painter and muralist whom we commissioned to design and paint a 14-foot-wide community mural on the DDWC’s west wall. Dan will be on-site all weekend working on the mural, completing it by Sunday night. To commemorate this unique unveiling, Dan created a sketch of the mural that we turned into prints. Everyone stopping at the DDWC will receive a collectible, complimentary print, and Dan will autograph. How cool is that?
Like we do every year, CVB staff will also be in our Main Stage field booth at the Arts & Jazz Fest. We’ll have prints there, too. It’s long been tradition that festival-goers hang out all over downtown throughout the weekend. When hanging time calls for a change of scenery, folks meander, checking out the Denton beyond Quakertown Park. That’s where we come in.
Dentoning experts during their first round of training.
Our debut crop of Dentoning Experts finished training last weekend, and I exaggerate not when I say these are the cream of the crop. Isabel Deniz, Dunashay Thomas, Rachel Holloway, Chelsea Benner, Robyn Ferguson, Candace Schmucker, Katherine Jeffcoat, Ellie Meyer, Leslie Frederickson, and Mikey LaCroix are fully equipped to bear the mantle of responsibility for shaping Dentoning experiences for DDWC visitors. They are immersed in Denton culture, versed in delivering the Denton Original Independent brand and thanks to Denton police officer Orlando Hinojosa (Hino), security-aware so everyone sees Denton at our best. Meet them and Dan at the same time during Denton’s final sneak peek before we open in May.
Overcoming challenges and navigating obstacles are keys in the Dentoning Expert’s job description, and they’ll be dealing with one right out of the gate. As fate would have it, the North Texas Boulevard overpass is scheduled for demolition on Friday night. Interstate 35 will close around that specific area, traffic diverting to frontage roads through Sunday. Remember I mentioned the quarter million people heading for Arts & Jazz Fest? Right. Like me, you can see the writing on the wall. Well, we didn’t let weather stop us last year when we donned rain boots and partied on. Traffic won’t stop us either. Denton does not back down when our biggest celebration is in the balance!
We at the CVB, along with officials from City of Denton, 35 Express Project, DCTA and Arts & Jazz Fest will be pushing alternate routes, notifications and reminders to help mitigate traffic. But as our community has proven time and again, you are our best ambassadors. Spread the word about the A-train and our many Denton hotel options, simple solutions for avoiding traffic and parking drama! Additionally, sign up at 35express.org to receive text alerts about traffic conditions, and tell others to do the same. These text alerts are not just for Arts & Jazz Fest, either. They’re a great resource all the time. Let’s face it. Stuff happens. It’s good to be in the know when it does.
Check out dentonjazzfest.com for this weekend’s schedule. Then come see us at the DDWC for everything you need to know about Dentoning at its finest during one of my favorite weekends of the entire year!
Featured image courtesy of Ed Steele Photography.