North Texas Daily

Arts & Autos Extravaganza brings Denton community together through wacky, wild cars

Arts & Autos Extravaganza brings Denton community together through wacky, wild cars

Arts & Autos Extravaganza brings Denton community together through wacky, wild cars
September 13
21:47 2021

With a crowd gathered on the Courthouse-on-the-Square lawn, the wind picked up as the flags were raised to half-mast during a somber memorial held to honor those who lost their lives during the Sept. 11 attacks before the Arts & Autos Extravaganza.

Featuring vintage or funky automobiles, small business vendors and local artists lined the Courthouse-on-the-Square, and Denton’s 22nd annual Arts & Autos Extravaganza revved up the traditional festivities.

Hosted by the Denton Main Street Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of historic downtown Denton, Arts & Autos showed off more than 200 classic and custom trucks, cars and motorcycles. Along the edges of the Square, artists participated in the Chalk Fest and Contest and a silent auction was held in support of the Denton Main Street Foundation.

Jon Pomeroy, former Marine of Oak Point, showed off his “Nauti Rat,” a rat-bike made from a motorcycle and repurposed 16-foot boat. The “Nauti Rat” and its boat sidecar, which has won three “Best in Show” awards this year, was Pomeroy’s “COVID-project” and was originally built in mind for his special needs grandson.

As Pomeroy’s grandson’s condition deteriorated and he became unable to ride in the sidecar, Pomeroy’s initial intention for the bike was lost. However, Pomeroy said he found a new benefit with the bike at shows: showing it off to the kids.

“I just like to bump elbows with people and the kids and the dogs,” Pomeroy said. “I love to put the kids on the bike — that ices the cake for me.”

The Extravaganza also attracted local vendors to sell their goods along the Square. Graciela Abbot, a 10-year farmer and the wife of Frankie Abbott of Frankie’s Fresh Foods, said being involved in the community enticed them to participate.

“I like to see the people and the families,” Abbott said.

Local nonprofits were present at the Extravaganza. Feed-A-Hero is a nonprofit founded in 2013 which supports DFW police officers, firefighters and EMS. Jim Searles, a retired policeman and founder of Feed-A-Hero, said events like the Extravaganza are a way to spread awareness of the group and find donors or volunteers.

Feed-A-Hero plans to serve 7,000 first responders across North Texas this Christmas, an endeavor that will need 500 volunteers to run and cost about $45,000.

“When the bell rings, we have to go,” Searles said.

On the outskirts of the Square, artists began to chalk out their designs in the Chalk Fest. Taylor Minth, UNT alumna and graphic designer, was convinced to enter the show by her husband and said she wanted to spread joy through her piece.

“I think there’s a lot of bad stuff going on right now and people get so down about it,” Minth said. “I wanted to make something happy to make people think of things that are good and happy still.”

The Arts & Autos Extravaganza is an event that its coordinators plan to continue through the years. With a long history of showing automobiles and the artsy side of Denton, the Extravaganza has now been a Denton tradition for 22 years.

“It just [represents] America,” Pomeroy said. “It’s healthy. It’s good.”

Featured Image: Car owners and local vendors set up in front of the courthouse on Denton Square for the 22nd annual Arts & Autos Extravaganza on Sept. 11, 2021. Photo by John Anderson

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Hannah Johnson

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