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David Minton - DRC file photo

Cheers for the chill

Profile image for By Lucinda Breeding / Features Editor
By Lucinda Breeding / Features Editor
The Syncopated Ladies perform at the 2012 Denton Holiday Lighting Festival.David Minton - DRC file photo
The Syncopated Ladies perform at the 2012 Denton Holiday Lighting Festival.
David Minton - DRC file photo
Santa Claus meets young Avery Winters, last year’s official tree lighter, before she throws the switch at the 2012 Denton Holiday Lighting Festival.David Minton - DRC file photo
Santa Claus meets young Avery Winters, last year’s official tree lighter, before she throws the switch at the 2012 Denton Holiday Lighting Festival.
David Minton - DRC file photo

Lighting fest to mark 25 years of twinkle

By Wednesday afternoon, the Denton Holiday Festival Association had announced its plan for the icy conditions predicted for Friday night, which is also Denton’s 25th annual date with the winter holidays.

Record numbers clogged the downtown Denton Square last year, thanks in part to the balmy temperatures — shorts and flip-flops were as common a sight as Santa Claus hats — and the city’s rising profile in North Texas.

Friday’s forecast isn’t so summery, but festival officials are still ready for a party that celebrates 25 years of merrymaking during the first week of December. If the city, county, school district and universities close offices and schools on Friday, the holiday lighting will be canceled.

The lighting’s traditions won’t change. The Denton Community Band is still set to get the music started at 5:30 p.m. with a Christmas carol singalong, followed by greetings and the lighting of the Christmas tree on the lawn of the Courthouse on the Square. The Square will be surrounded by dance and music. Food booths will dot the courthouse lawn. The annual toy drive will still be accepting new, unwrapped toys. Piping-hot wassail will await taste-testers for the 15th year in a row.

The festival has put a lot of extra dazzle in the third annual Denton Holiday Music Spectacular, featuring an 11-piece orchestra and guests galore, including Grammy nominees and winners, and a rare performance by Denton indie-folk band Centro-matic.

Founding member Will Johnson just ended a month of solo living room tours. Johnson, who rounds out Centro-matic with Scott Danbom, Mark Hedman and Matt Pence, has been busy of late. This year has seen the musician touring in support of his 2012 solo album, Scorpion. He came to town over the summer as a member of the indie supergroup Overseas (with David Bazan of Pedro the Lion, and brothers Matt and Bubba Kadane of Bedhead and the New Year) with a self-titled debut to try out on loyal Denton fans.

The Holiday Music Spectacular will celebrate the sprawling landscape that is Denton’s music scene, performing classics and seasonal favorites as playful jazz numbers, Western swing dances, bluesy crooning, folksy renditions and rock-flavored treatments.

If the weather is kind, the lighting will be one part holiday smorgasbord, one part anniversary celebration and a homegrown holiday kickoff.

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



What: 25th annual Denton Holiday Lighting Festival, featuring the lighting of the community Christmas tree, Denton Holiday Music Spectacular, music and dance performances, vendors and more.

When: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday

Where: On and around the downtown Square

Details: Free admission; toy donations requested for the community toy drive. Photos with Santa cost $7, horse-drawn wagon rides cost $3. Nonprofit groups will sell food.

On the Web:,

Inclement weather plan: In the event of inclement weather on Friday, the Holiday Lighting Committee will follow Denton County, universities’ and the Denton school district’s decisions regarding closings. If offices and schools are closed on Friday, the event will be canceled. Visit the website or Facebook page for updates.



At Hickory and Locust streets

5:30 p.m. — Denton Community Band

5:45 p.m. — Greetings from dignitaries

6 p.m. — Tree lighting

6 to 6:20 p.m. — Denton Community Band

6:30 to 6:50 p.m. — Denton High School Lab Band 1

7 to 7:20 p.m. — Syncopated Ladies

7:30 to 7:50 p.m. — Festival Ballet of North Central Texas presents dances from The Nutcracker


On the lawn of the Courthouse on the Square

6:30 to 6:50 p.m. — Opera on Tap–North Texas

7 to 7:20 p.m. — V-Krewe Brass Ensemble

8 to 9:30 p.m. — Denton Holiday Music Spectacular, an 11-piece Holiday Lighting Orchestra directed by David Pierce


At Locust and Oak streets

6 to 6:20 p.m. — Ryan High School Strutters Drill Team

6:30 to 6:50 p.m. — Glory of Zion Singers

7 to 7:20 p.m. — Denton Music Academy Garage Band and Denton Music Academy Chamber Group

7:30 to 7:50 p.m. — Cougar Jazz


101 S. Locust St.

6 to 6:20 p.m. — Selwyn Lower School

6:30 to 6:50 p.m. — Strickland Middle School Jazz Band

7 to 7:20 p.m. — Handbells at Strickland

7:30 to 7:50 p.m. — Strickland Middle School Chamber Orchestra


Inside the Courthouse on the Square

6 to 6:20 p.m. — Childbloom Guitar Ensemble

6:30 to 6:50 p.m. — Guyer High School Chamber Choir

7 to 7:20 p.m. — Black Fox Players

7:30 to 7:50 p.m. — Bad Smog


109 N. Elm St.

6 to 7:30 p.m. — Seasonal music by UNT Euphonium and Tuba Ensemble and the Impact Brass Quintet


Denton County Historical Park, 317 W. Mulberry St.

5:30 to 5:50 p.m. — First Denton Praise & Worship Team

6 to 6:20 p.m. — Larry’s Angels

6:30 to 6:50 p.m. — Sing Texas!

7 to 7:20 p.m. — Bonduris Music student bands


Denton County Historical Park, 317 W. Mulberry St.

6 to 8 p.m. — American Legion Senior Center Choir


4 to 7 p.m. — Wonderland Express holiday celebration at the Downtown Denton Transit Center, hosted by the Denton County Transportation Authority in conjunction with the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival. Event includes free hot chocolate and refreshments. Walk to the Square, or take a complimentary bus ride. Visit

5:30 to 8 p.m. — Denton Main Street Association’s Wassail Fest offers free tastings of the warm mulled cider drink at participating downtown businesses. People can vote for their favorite recipe. Visit