By Kim Pierce
Illustrations by Tom Nick Cocotos
Denton Live Fall/Winter 2005
The Arts, Antiques & Autos Extravaganza is like three events in one. But it won’t cost you a single cent to get in.
It’s hard to say who has the best time at Denton’s jam-packed Arts, Antiques & Autos Extravaganza each year. For lovers of fine art, the Juried Art Show tickles the imagination with media as diverse as photography and Native American beadwork. For fans of the popular PBS series Antiques Roadshow, or anyone who just wants to know how much that heirloom watch from grandpa might be worth, the experts at Attic Treasure Appraisals deliver instant information. But nothing seems to catch people’s fancy — or evoke cherished memories — quite like the Classic, Hot Rod & Custom Car Show.
What makes the car show so special is the hundreds of gleaming, finely tuned roadsters lined up around the city’s main Square. Last year, there were more than 160 specimens on display, which dated from 1910 to 2004. One entire side of the Courthouse was taken up by Corvettes. “We affectionately call it Corvette Row,” says Alison Ortowski, of the Denton Main Street Program. They’ve become quite a fixture at the event, their hoods up like soldiers standing at attention.
Sadly, one familiar face missing from the car show this year will be Lindell “Vince” Vinson, a longtime participant who passed away in February. Each year, Vince would pose proudly next to his stable, which in 2004 included a chantilly ’64 Mustang coupe, a red ’65 Mustang convertible, and a red ’65 Chevy Impala.
“He spent weeks getting them ready, fine cleaning and polishing them,” says Vince’s daughter Amy, a local elementary school teacher. “He did engine cleaning and rebuilding, and made sure everything was running. The engines were perfect.” Amy, who always helped him get the cars ready, says she’s not sure what she’ll do for this year’s event. Although she’s sure she’ll attend. “I love the event because Daddy always got so excited,” she says.
As fine as these cars are, and as much as their sleek lines and enviable horsepower will make you want to get behind the wheel and zoom off down the road, remember that like a Chagall at the Louvre, you can look but don’t touch. For these, too, are classics, just the four-wheeled variety.
Speaking of classics, the experts over at the Attic Treasure Appraisals are looking for exactly that, be it sports memorabilia, jewelry, toys, or whatever other treasures you happen to dig up. Specialists are on hand to eyeball your items and tell you what they think they’re worth. Last year, one participant brought in two mint-condition collectible dolls from a set of three that, if she can locate the third, will be worth tens of thousands of dollars. A hot item in 2003 was an Amelia Earhart signature that stirred up a lot of excitement. But even if your Bazooka baseball cards turn out to be a bust, anyone who watches Antiques Roadshow knows that the thrill is in the hunt itself. Because you just never know what you may turn up.
MARVELS AND MASTERPIECES
Didn’t find a priceless Picasso hidden away in your attic for them to evaluate? Then perhaps you can pick up a painting from one of the talented artists entered in this year’s Juried Art Show. In the past, entrants have included photographers, painters, potters, sculptors, jewelry makers, and glassblowers. All of the competing artists will be in attendance to display their works and talk about their techniques, like the woodworkers who bring their lathes to demonstrate the meticulous process of turning wood. On the final day, the works are judged and awards and cash prizes are handed out. Can you guess who the winners will be?
Chalk Art Fest, where wannabe artistes have five hours to transform their square of sidewalk into a stunning showpiece. The finished designs are often as vivid and richly detailed as a Monet or Picasso. In fact, the wealth of talent, even among the youngest participants, draws crowds and has made this one of the event’s most popular features.
THE BEST OF THE REST
Believe it or not, in addition to the arts, antiques, and autos, there’s even more in store for you at this action-packed festival. So don’t be surprised if you go for one aspect of the Saturday event and wind up drawn to another. Say, for example, you brought your Uncle Bob’s old issues of Life magazine to have them appraised but find yourself drooling over the racy ’52 Mercedes that swept the foreign award categories at the car show last year. Add musicians, like strolling fiddlers or a swing band, to the mix — plus a special area where the kiddos can construct crafts or hop ’til they drop in an inflated bounce house — and you have a full day of fun for the whole family.