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Kim Phillips: Denton readies for two big kickoffs next weekend

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Kim Phillips

Time is the elusive cat whose tail we cannot catch. That's not a famous quote; it's a genuine sentiment from my own head. Turning the page on my old-fashioned wall calendar, I am incredulous as I sit down to write about holiday shopping. Holiday. As in Christmas. As in, "Didn't we only just take down the decorations from last year?"

Yet here we are, ready or not, with the holiday season ramping up once again.

In Denton, it all begins with the Denton Main Street Association's Holiday Open House this coming weekend, November 11-12.

Weatherwise, we don't typically have a lot of seasonal experience in North Texas. Rather, we have fairly consistent "Texas weather" with bursts of season here and there. We go from crisp fall to stormy spring to balmy summer in the course of day, and crazy as it is, we shrug it off as, "Hey, it's Texas. Don't like the weather? Wait a few minutes and it's likely to change."

Some years, our Texas weather conundrum allows certain holidays to sneak up on us. Other years, especially when it comes to the Christmas holiday season, it can be difficult to get into the spirit of it all. People on television are snug in coats and scarves and boots and we're still in shorts and flip-flops. Smiling snowmen and red-clad Santas dance around on the tube touting all the perfect gifts to make everyone in our lives happy while we watch from air-conditioned living rooms and think about mowing the yard.

My favorite thing about the DMSA Holiday Open House is how it transcends the weather issue. Head downtown this weekend, and you'll see what I mean. It is the one time of year when you can actually watch the season change regardless of what the thermometer reads or how it dictates your attire for the day.

Today as I write, sugar skulls, pumpkins, skeletons and scarecrows are reminders that Halloween just happened, kids are still buzzing on trick-or-treat candy and Day of the Dead is barely over. Tomorrow, however, the season will begin to change the Denton way. Here, colorful leaves and gentle snowflakes aren't the sign. Those things may or may not happen at all between now and next summer. Here, the season turns in a matter of days from bountiful fall to magical Christmas in store windows as more than 35 downtown merchants ready for Holiday Open House. It's Denton's advent to Thanksgiving and kickoff to Yuletide.

Holiday Open House is just one of the big kickoffs this weekend. The other is at 4 p.m. Saturday when the University of North Texas Mean Green football team plays host to the University of Texas at El Paso. This is UNT homecoming, so activities are scheduled throughout the week, culminating Saturday with the homecoming parade through campus and downtown Denton starting at 11 a.m., followed by the Homecoming Tailgate celebration and the big game at Apogee Stadium.

If you haven't been watching, you're missing a great Mean Green season. UNT is currently in first place of Conference USA's West Division with a 4-1 record and is 5-3 overall. Go Mean Green! At this rate, we could well be bowl-bound come season end.

The Jagoe-Public Co.-sponsored Mean Green Game Day shuttles will begin running at 1 p.m. Saturday and will run continuously between downtown, the Fry Street district and Apogee Stadium until an hour after the game ends. These free, hop-on, hop-off shuttles bring the whole experience together and make it easy.

Free parking is available at the MedPark A-train station and the train ride to downtown is also free. Then the Game Day shuttles make getting around downtown and back and forth between the parade, tailgating and the game a cinch. There is also free parking downtown, but keep in mind that it'll be a busy day, what with Holiday Open House, homecoming and Mean Green Game Day all unfolding at once. Paid parking is available at Apogee Stadium if preferred. Just remember the Mean Green Game Day shuttles go both ways. Take it all in.

Holiday Open House will continue through Sunday.

The weatherman is calling for typical Texas warm and pleasant this weekend, at least that's the forecast today. It's Texas. That could change. We're used to it, and since when does weather stop us anyway? It's going to be a great Denton week. It's the holiday season kickoff, great deals to get your shopping underway and great football with our CUSA West-leading Mean Green home team.

Come out for #Dentoning at its best.

For Holiday Open House merchants and activities, visit https://www.discoverdenton.com/what-to-do/shopping/holiday-shopping/holiday-open-house-participants/.

For Homecoming schedule, visit http://studentaffairs.unt.edu/student-activities-center/programs/homecoming.

For Mean Green Game Day shuttle routes, visit www.meangreengameday.com.

KIM PHILLIPS is vice president of the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau at the Denton Chamber of Commerce. She loves promoting Denton's original, independent spirit through the city's sense of place and cast of many characters. She can be reached at kim@discoverdenton.com.