If crowds aren’t chased home by freezing rain and ice on Friday night, the First Friday Denton arts mixer will have a little something extra: wassail.
The 15th annual Wassail Fest is part of the festivities planned during the 25th annual Denton Holiday Lighting Festival on the Square from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, and a number of First Friday’s usual participants are serving up the hot spiced (but not spiked) cider.
“Wassail is just a fussy old English name for hot cider,” said Wassail Fest chairwoman Claire Amano. For 15 years now, downtown merchants have prepared some old recipes and family favorites to compete for the coveted title of Wassail King or Queen.
The tradition was started by merchants of the Denton Main Street Association as a way to contribute to the holiday lighting festivities. This year more than 35 downtown Denton merchants will be Wassail Stops during the festival.
The king or queen is selected by the tasters casting their votes — the one with the most votes wins. Ballots must be cast by 8 p.m. in front of the Campus Theatre, at the corner of Cedar and Hickory streets.
The DIME Store — the Locust Street storefront for the Denton Independent Makers Exchange — plans to stock its shelves with handcrafted items worthy of spots under the Christmas tree, as well as wassail for the annual contest.
A Creative Art Studio will serve wassail while promoting both the downtown festival and the arts mixer. While tasters sip the studio’s cider, they can listen to the Denton High School Orchestra Ensemble, which will perform holiday music at 7 p.m. Attendees can also study the paintings of Texas Woman’s University graduate student Kristie Hunger.
SCRAP Denton will serve wassail and open its December exhibition in the Re:Vision Gallery, “30 for $30.” Artists have made pieces using mostly recycled, reused or found materials, and the end products are all for sale for $30.
Other downtown businesses participating in First Friday Denton include East Side Social Club, UNT on the Square, Oak Street Draft House & Cocktail Parlor, and Vigne.
— Lucinda Breeding
WASSAIL FEST COMPETITORS
Wassail Fest tastings are available from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday. Ballots are due by 8 p.m. in front of the Campus Theatre, 214 W. Hickory St. For more information, visit www.dentonmainstreet.org.
Asterisks denote merchants participating in First Friday Denton in addition to serving wassail on Friday night. Participating First Friday businesses stay open late, with many closing around 9 or 10 p.m. For more information, visit http://firstfridaydenton.com.
EAST HICKORY/BELL AREA (one to two blocks east of the Square)
Queenie’s, 115 E. Hickory St.
*Noles General Store, 315 E. Hickory
Hoochies Oyster House, 207 N. Bell Ave.
I [heart] Denton, 101 N. Elm
Cartwright’s Ranch House, 111 N. Elm
First People’s Jewelers, 117 N. Elm
W. Douglas Antiques, 119 N. Elm
*Garden Gate, 121 N. Elm
Barefoot Campus Apparel Outfitters, 207 N. Elm
SOUTH LOCUST AREA (one to two blocks south of the Square)
*DIME Store, 510 S. Locust St.
First United Methodist Church, 201 S. Locust
*Mulberry Street Cantina, 110 W. Mulberry St.
LOCUST STREET/NORTH LOCUST
Wells Fargo, 101 S. Locust
La Di Da, 114 N. Locust
Recycled Books Records CDs, 200 N. Locust
Bonduris Music, 813 N. Locust
Atomic Candy, 105 W. Hickory
County Seat Antiques, 109 W. Hickory
The Courthouse Collection, 111 W. Hickory
The Loophole Gastropub & Ale House, 119 W. Hickory
Christ Community Church, 207 W. Hickory
Yogurt Fusion, 209 W. Hickory, Suite 106
Gold Mine BBQ, 222 W. Hickory, Suite 100
J&J’s Pizza, 118 W. Oak
The (Ghost) Note, 120 W. Oak
Carol’s Custom Draperies & Interiors, 112 W. Oak
McBride Music & Pawn, 116 W. Oak
The Candy Store, 110-B W. Oak
*Serendipity-on-the-Square, 108 W. Oak, Suite 102
McNeill’s, 104 W. Oak
The Glasschroeder Agency, 100 W. Oak St., Suite G-100
WEST OAK/CEDAR STREET (half block west of the Square)
*Denton Square Donuts and Imagine Gallery, 208 W. Oak
SCRAP Denton, 215 W. Oak
*Banter Bistro, 219 W. Oak
*Shop the Barn, 221 W. Oak
*Circa 77 Vintage, 227 A W. Oak
*A Creative Art Studio, 227 W. Oak, Suite 101