Arts, Antiques & Autos Extravaganza travels through Denton Square
Chad Robertson | Staff Writer
Classic cars, hand-carved Indonesian knick-knacks and a traveling beard grooming parlor were just a few things this year’s sixteenth annual Arts, Antiques & Autos festival had to offer.
Denton residents flooded the Square Saturday morning while auto enthusiasts sat back and watched as onlookers ogled their sparkling classics and modern vehicles.
Trinkets and treasures
Locals shopped through vendors’ tents that took over the courthouse lawn, where artists were selling anything from Denton-themed paraphernalia to wooden, hand-carved ornaments.
At the Made In Bali booth, Ingrid Jaya offered a variety of imported hand-made items from across the world.
“The wooden knick-knacks are from Bali and are made of coconut shells and bamboo,” Jaya said. “We also sell hand-woven baskets from Africa.”
This is Jaya’s third year setting up at the festival, and she comes back because of the nice weather and, she said, the “even nicer crowds.” Jaya also sells the foreign merchandise on campus during Earth Day.
At the Denton Design Co. booth next door, Dariene Orr sold Denton-themed dog collars, necklaces, pins, coloring books and even offered notecards with pictures of Barbie dolls hitting up all the local hot spots.
“Eight years ago I started Out and About and created the Barbie notecards, but this is only my second time setting up at this festival,” Orr said. “I do it because it’s fun and I love the variety of everything offered here.”
Her excitement and love for the Denton community was shared among the vendors.
Woodworker Donnie Chesser and his wife and quilt maker, Elayn, set up shop this year selling hand-carved wooden Christmas ornaments and hand-stitched quilts.
The couple has been woodworking for 15 years and quilting for 40, but this was the first year they decided to set up a booth. Chesser is also in the process of writing a how-to book on making ornaments.
They said proceeds from selling “Chesser’s Treasures” are being donated to the In Sync Exotics tiger sanctuary in Wylie, Texas.
A sidewalk-chalk-drawing competition was happening as well. Seventy artists of all ages had the opportunity to compete for a grand prize of $150.
Chalk Fest coordinator and local art teacher Robin Huttash started the mini-event three years ago because she wanted to incorporate more art into the festival.
“I just love art and I wanted to see it splashed all around Denton,” Huttash said.
Motors and memories
On the other side of the festival, car lovers were putting their spiffy autos on display for corn-dog-wielding locals to come by and appreciate.
Car enthusiast Lee Hall relaxed in a fold-out chair on the 80-degree day by his gun-silver 1967 British Austin Healey and talked with casual passersbys inquiring about the sports car.
“I’ve been coming out here for 10 years,” Hall said. “I like the eclectic mix of cars and how the event isn’t too serious. There’s something for everyone out here.”
Hall said he bought the British Healey because it was something different from the American cars everyone else had. Since he keeps the car up himself, he hasn’t had any problems with it.
Mark “Woody” Williams spent his first time out at the fest with his blacked-out 1967 Chevrolet C10. The custom truck featured suicide doors that were originally designed for aviation.
“I believe cars are an important cultural element,” Williams said. “You can see it by all the families out here, and the fact that there are generations of hot roads to look back at prove the point.”
When Williams isn’t frequenting car shows, he spends his time working at the Plano Speed Shop.
Whether it’s reliving the good ‘ole days or just the excitement of decking out a hot rod, one thing is common for all auto enthusiasts: the love for their cars.
Bob Wilhoit bought his black G7 Chevrolet Impala two years ago. He had an identical one in 1966 that he loved.
“This festival is lots of fun for meeting and talking to people,” Wilhoit said. “These shows remind people of their heritage. People will come by and say, ‘My mom had one, my dad had one.’ The cars just bring back old memories.”
After a day of live music, fried food, shopping for hand-made trinkets and checking out stylish cars from the past and present, Dentonites got an accurate and unique taste of what their community had to offer: a true Denton experience.
Featured Image: Classic cars line a sidewalk during the Arts, Antiques and Autos Extravaganza. Zachary Peterson | Intern Photographer
Click here for more photos from the event.
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