Denton was packed with visitors a week and a half ago, and especially last weekend. Thin Line got underway on Feb. 12 and had record attendance for its seventh year.
Other guests were in town for various reasons and many daytrippers were enjoying the city. The weather was perfect. People filled Denton’s living room, kicked back on the Square and relaxed on outdoor patios. The stores brimmed with browsers. Music was in the air from Thin Line’s first-time music venues, several of which opened their doors to the springtime air. Dentoning was the primary activity, and everybody was into it.
If you didn’t get to catch any of the documentaries or music, visit our CVB blog at discoverdenton.com. Our team of six dedicated bloggers covered it thoroughly. Check it out, so you’ll know to hold the dates for next year. It was excellent.
One of the most exciting takeaways from the weekend for me was listening to our visitors talk about Denton. If you are a regular reader, you know I’m a passionate stickler for great customer service.
The CVB works diligently to get visitors to Denton. But when they are here, their experience is in the hands of all the people in myriad roles that they encounter along the way. Servers, festival workers, hotel staff and retailers are the deliverers who determined if visitors left last weekend with a good story to tell. Their level of service settled in visitors’ perceptions whether Thin Line was a favorable festival, the hotels and restaurants are recommendable or Denton is a worthwhile excursion.
The good news is that word on the street praised Denton all weekend long! I met people from all over the world. Filmmakers and documentary subjects came from Canada, Italy, Australia, California, New Mexico, Africa ... and those are just some of the ones I met. There were many more. People were raving about how friendly Denton is. I saw it myself over and over and was bursting with pride that what these guests were experiencing was happening so naturally and consistently throughout the community. This is the secret of success!
Look at this post on our CVB Facebook page from one of our visitors, Lorna Turcotte:
“We came from out of town to Denton this past week for your Thin Line Film Festival. Must say that Denton’s hospitality was awesome! Exceptional friendliness and good service from all your local restaurants and Holiday Inn and Suites where we stayed. Also a big shout out to all the awesome volunteers who made Thin Line Festival such a great event.”
Of course I liked this post! It says, “We did it and did it right, Denton!”
Incognito as a Thin Line blogger, I was all over the place and share Lorna’s impression 100 percent. I enjoyed over-the-top service from Erin at Lone Star Attitude who remembered my name and used it the entire time I was her customer. What’s really amazing is Erin remembered me a couple of days later when I encountered her again at Thin Line’s closing concert, where she was working at Dan’s Silverleaf. That kind of customer connection is exceptional.
Nate at Vigne was at the top of his game, too. He always is, but, watching him with obvious out-of-towners and noting their genuine appreciation for his knowledgeable manner and friendly banter thrilled me. Their obvious enjoyment was contagious.
The Thin Line volunteers did a great job at every film and show I attended. Everyone smiled. They were well-trained in their tasks — attentive, gracious and helpful. Without exception, attendees were made to feel welcome and valued.
I sat next to a visitor in one restaurant Saturday afternoon and struck up a conversation. She noticed my Thin Line badge and asked what was going on in town. I told her about the festival, and she shared that she was from Hurst, just daytripping for the afternoon. She went on to say she comes to Denton regularly just to soak up the spirit, because it makes her feel good to be here. I love that.
Thin Line’s opening film was Denton native David Barrow’s marvelous documentary When We Were All Broncos. (Every Denton resident should see this film). It told Denton’s circa 1969 through early ’70s story of desegregation and integration. I learned a lot and saw many familiar faces in the film. But the biggest impact on me was how special Denton was even then. Those difficult years for much of the nation unfolded very differently here, peacefully. Denton embraced the changing culture well before laws were mandated.
This is who we are. I saw us prove it in my own experience last weekend with all kinds of people from many different places. And I heard it while eavesdropping among countless visitors. It is a thin line that makes or breaks what people say about us when they leave. We got it right this time. I love this town!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.