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Shining inspiration

Profile image for By Megan Gray / Staff Writer
By Megan Gray / Staff Writer

Annual festival serves as stage for future of the arts

The smell of funnel cakes and corn dogs wafts through the air amid tunes of modern jazz. This can only mean one thing: The Denton Arts & Jazz Festival is in full swing.

Quakertown Park was full of families, friends and furry animals on Saturday, the second day of the festival. Some marveled at the professional works of art on display and grabbed their spots for the evening’s headliner, the “Original” Blues Brothers Band.

“Last night’s headliner, the David Sanborn Trio, was phenomenal and the turnout was incredible,” said Carol Short, the festival’s founder and head organizer.

She noted that food vendors’ Friday night sales were better than those from the past two years.

While the festival has a day remaining, Short said she believed the first two days had drawn a very large turnout.

“We cater to people of all ages and it shows on the stages — we have tiny performers up through college and beyond,” she said.

The community stages featuring younger acts are vital to the future of the arts, Short said.

Short said younger performers from all over want to perform at the annual festival — now in its 23rd year and where many, she said, first get their start.

Sanger High School drill team director Araceli Perez said she was excited to have her girls out performing on Saturday afternoon.

The Cherokee Charmers, fresh from their spring show last weekend, performed on the Festival Stage.

“As a growing team, this is a great way to have a chance to get our name out there,” Perez said.

The girls got the crowd going when Blake Shelton’s version of “Footloose” blared from the speakers.

Perez credited the choreography to Denton’s Ashley Ness of Silhouette Dance Company.

Ness, who began working with the Cherokee Charmers last summer, called them the most unified group she’s worked with.

“They are constantly perfecting their craft,” Ness said.

Short said the Denton Festival Foundation, now in its 33rd year, has a mission to provide free access to music and fine arts.

Inspiring the young people, she said, is half of the organization’s goal.

“They are the next generation and will carry the arts into the future,” Short said.

The festival concludes today and will feature Denton’s own Brave Combo on the main stage at 7 p.m.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.