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The whole shebang

Profile image for By Lucinda Breeding / Features Editor
By Lucinda Breeding / Features Editor

Denton hosts an Independence Day for the entire gang

Denton’s annual Fourth of July celebration is long on tradition.

The city starts its Independence Day celebration with the Liberty Run 5K, then marches through downtown Denton in the familiar Yankee Doodle Parade, and ends up in Quakertown Park, with Mom and not apple pie, but a whipped cream eating contest.

Parades, whipped cream and gutter boat races are all well and good. But this is Denton, and what matters is music.

Brave Combo saxophone man Jeffrey Barnes, a Corinth resident, seemed a little surprised earlier this week when he announced on his personal Facebook page that Denton’s Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center had called him. The caller was worried, he wrote, that the longstanding local musical group associated with the Fourth of July hadn’t signed up for the parade.

The Denton Institute of Phrenology Half-Fast Marching Band is a fun-loving assembly of local musicians and friends who celebrate their country through music and marching — just once a year.

“Apparently we are needed,” Barnes wrote on his status update last Friday. “Can we refuse if our nation calls us?”

The half-fast marchers have heeded the call. Denton, your patriotic serenade is on the way. Barnes said he’s passed this year’s grand marshal sash to another band member.

“As ever, those who are even the slightest bit musical should bring an instrument,” Barnes said on the official invitation (find it here: “Those who are not can bring a drill (that is, a boring device) and march with the Trepanettes, our all-person precision drill team. Or just come anyway.”

The city’s Family Fun Jubilee winds up at noon. At 12:30 p.m., Denton band Sol Tax performs the final concert of the Twilight Tunes series on the Square.

The music continues this evening at the Denton Noon Kiwanis Club annual fireworks show at the University of North Texas’ Apogee Stadium at 1251 S. Bonnie Brae St. Live music starts at 6:30 p.m. by way of North Texas country quintet the Dirty Pesos and Argyle’s George Dunham and the Bird Dogs.

The Dirty Pesos dip their toes into folk, rock and a little bit of the blues, but the chief waterhole for this five-piece is country. Think Lynyrd Skynyrd, where there’s more head-bobbing (and goat-throwing) than two-stepping. Prepare for guitar licks that are all business and thrashing drums.

Lead singer Tom McElvain sings with certainty, backed by keyboardist Kyle Wade Smith, guitarist Mark Lafon, bassist Brad King and drummer Scott Lytle. Together, the musicians assume the roles of Texas bad boys in “Looking at Her,” a boy-howdy, hot-mama-on-the-move song. The band cops to hard drinking habits on “Whiskey Angel.”

George Dunham and the Bird Dogs make country music with a touch of folksy flare and lots of rock. Dunham enjoys a following thanks to his gig as co-host of the morning show on KTCK-FM “The Ticket” (104.1), the popular North Texas sports radio show. Dunham is the lead vocalist and guitarist, playing with Bryant “Pablo” Russell on drums, bassist Travis Behl, pedal steel player Clay Powers and guitarist Steve Porcari.

This year’s national anthem comes from the New York hard rock quartet Madison Rising, a group that gives the anthem its own treatment — which is more Green Day than Jimi Hendrix, but still refreshed for a 21st-century audience. The band’s version of the anthem will play on the screen at Apogee Stadium. Afterward, the fireworks display sets off to recorded patriotic music.

The show is free, but Kiwanis members will dispatch the club’s “bucket brigade” to collect donations. All the cash and change gathered by the brigade benefits the Kiwanis Children’s Clinic, a network of local health care providers who serve children of low-income Denton families.

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877.



When: The Yankee Doodle Parade and the Family Fun Jubilee start at 9 a.m. today.

Where: Parade lineup starts at 8 a.m. on South Locust Street between Walnut and Sycamore streets. The parade moves through the downtown Denton Square. The Jubilee is at Quakertown Park, 321 E. McKinney St.

Details: Free.




7:30 a.m. — Liberty Run 5K run and 1-mile fun walk at North Lakes Recreation Center, 2001 W. Windsor Drive. Check-in begins at 6:30 a.m. Race-day registration costs $20. Visit

9 a.m. — Yankee Doodle Parade in downtown Denton. Lineup is 8 a.m. on South Locust Street between Walnut and Sycamore streets. Judging starts at 8:30 a.m. To enter a float, call 940-349-8579. Visit

9 a.m. to noon — Family Fun Jubilee at Quakertown Park and the Denton Civic Center, 321 E. McKinney St. Free event includes entertainment, a flag ceremony, a horseshoe tournament, children’s art show, inflatable activities, games and contests. Visit

9 a.m. — Pilot Point’s Fourth of July parade, from Pilot Point Intermediate School, 501 E. Carroll St., to the square, where awards will be presented. Presented by the Friends of the Square and the Pilot Point Main Street Program.

9 a.m. — Sanger’s Fourth of July Parade, starting at the city’s downtown park, going down Bolivar Street and back up Elm Street. Area residents are invited to wear red, white and blue. Call 940-458-2059.

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Robson Ranch Independence Day celebration, including a parade and fly-over at 9 a.m., a patriotic sing-along at 10 a.m. at the clubhouse, and tours and other activities in the community’s model village from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free event also includes music and games. Free. Robson Ranch’s office is located at 9501 Ed Robson Blvd. Visit or call 940-246-2000.

9 a.m. to 10 p.m. — Lake Cities Fourth of July Celebration at City Park, 101 E. Hundley Drive in Lake Dallas. Event includes a parade at 9 a.m., flag service at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial, and the Lake Cities Idol Challenge from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Event includes live music, a carnival midway, a patriotic costume contest, an apple pie bake-off, food trucks and vendors. Headliner Eleven Hundred Springs performs at 7 p.m., and a fireworks display will follow. Free. Visit or call 940-497-2226, ext. 132.

12:30 p.m. — Twilight Tunes presents Sol Tax on the lawn of the Courthouse on the Square, 110 W. Hickory St. Free. Bring blankets and lawn chairs. Visit

5:30 p.m. — Freedom Fest at Rancho de la Rocha, 2459 W. Blackjack Road in Aubrey. Cost is $7 per person, free for children younger than 3. Event includes pedal boats and canoes, rides, children’s activities, live music and concessions. Fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Visit or call 940-365-7625.

6 p.m. — Denton Noon Kiwanis Club fireworks show at UNT’s Apogee Stadium, off Bonnie Brae Street south of I-35E. Live music starts at 6 p.m., and fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. Free parking at Fouts Field, across I-35E at North Texas Boulevard. Parking at Apogee Stadium costs $5. Proceeds and donations go toward the Denton Kiwanis Club Children’s Clinic. Visit