By Teresa Gubbins
Denton Live Spring/Summer 2005
In the art realm, dozens of craftsmen, jewelers, painters, and sculptors will display their work at this juried fine arts and crafts show. Antiques consist of an appraisal station, called Attic Treasure Appraisals, where attendees can obtain an analysis of their family heirlooms.
Autos constitute the largest segment of the festival, with more than 150 antique, hot rod, and custom cars expected to show. Musical acts performing live will round out the event.
One hates to sink to gender stereotypes, but we probably have a good idea which part of the festival attracts the guys (the autos, right?) and which appeals to the gals (arts and antiques). Or do we?
The Car Gal
Meet Becky Watkins of Sanger who, with her husband, Mike, has won the “Best of Show” trophy in the car competition for the past two years with her ’61 Chevy Impala. So much for stereotypes.
“Yeah, I’m a car gal,” Becky admits. “It’s a hobby we share.”
No one can forget her Impala once they’ve seen it, from its gleaming bright-red paint to its flawless upholstery. What’s most impressive about the Watkins’ back-to-back wins is that the votes come from their fellow car owners.
“Car people are gonna vote for the cars, not who owns the cars,” Becky says. “You don’t usually vote for your own car.”
The car awards don’t offer any monetary prizes, just trophies and “bragging rights.” But nonetheless, the Denton festival has a sterling reputation among car buffs, she says.
The number of cars competing has more than doubled in the last three years, says Alison Ortowski, of the Denton Main Street Program: from 70 cars in 2003 to 158 cars in 2005. Festival organizers go the extra mile to make sure it’s user-friendly and that participants are well taken care of, so the owners don’t have to leave their vehicles unattended.
They also like that there’s plenty of other things to do, Becky says.
“It’s not just the car show, it’s everything that goes on that day—you’ve always got something to do.”
Check Out the Art
As the auto portion of the festival expands, the art show contracts, with a key change being the spin-off of the beloved Chalk Fest to a separate event, yet to be scheduled.
“We wanted to do it at a separate time to give it a little more attention,” says organizer Christine Gossett.
This year’s fest will also place a greater emphasis on “interactive” art such as the Golden Triangle Woodturners, a Denton artisan group whose on-site demonstrations are always a big hit—with men and women—and whose work goes toward charity, such as the soup bowls they made last year benefiting the Food Bank.
It’s a treasure hunt when it comes to shopping and viewing: everything from jewelry to photographs. One of the things the artists like about this event is its manageable size and one-day duration, says Jo Williams, a watercolor artist who has served as a judge and juror, helping to select artists and vendors.
“While the work is varied, it’s more intimate than bigger festivals such as the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival,” she says.
What’s It Worth?
If you’re thinking about selling your stuff rather than buying, Attic Treasure Appraisals will assess your heirlooms, your tarnished silver, and your dusty bric-a-bracs.
The appraisal team is comprised of local volunteers who work in the field: antiques-shop owners, museum docents, and the like. They set up shop on the first floor of the courthouse, where they conduct their own version of PBS’ Antiques Roadshow: welcoming a stream of “contestants” who don’t mind revealing what’s in their attics for all the world to see. (Wow: You’re still hanging on to that?)
The team won’t evaluate large furniture items, nor will they issue official certificates. But they’re more than willing to share their knowledge of what your grandmother’s earrings may be worth.
If this seems like a ladies-only attraction, consider this: In the past couple of years, the appraisal team has included a specialist in collective antiques and sportsmemorabilia. For more information about specialists closer to the date, check the festival website.