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Dentonpalooza returns for 2nd celebration of local quirks

Dentonpalooza returns for 2nd celebration of local quirks

Dentonpalooza returns for 2nd celebration of local quirks
October 27
12:00 2022

A snowball fight in 90-degree weather sounds impossible, but not for the wacky creatives of Denton.

From the “’Shark Tank’ bicycle man,” to a no-holds-barred wrestling exhibition and witch shop incantations, Dentonpalooza Twooza was sure to draw attention.

Following last year’s successful showcase of all things Denton, Dentonpalooza Inc. president and founder Joey Liechty captivated over 300 guests with a fresh, new lineup at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios.

“I think it’s cool just to know that we can set up a sold-out mini festival type-thing just from the talent that’s here in the city because there’s so much of it,” Liechty said. “I think that’s important for people to know. You don’t have to book the national touring megaband [and] you don’t need to look outside of your own town to find a fun event […], especially in Denton, which is very much music oriented.” 

The festival, which started as a joke lineup on social media and later blossomed into reality, came back for round two on Oct. 22. The variety show featured a skateboarding demo, a hotdog eating contest, Denton creatives and vendors of all sorts, haircuts and more. Similar to last year, 100 percent of the proceeds went to two local charities: the Denton Music and Arts Collaborative and The Art Room Denton

“I was a full-time artist before I became a full-time teacher and now a part-time artist — or whatever you want to call it — and I actually got my insurance covered through [DMAC],” Dentonpalooza vendor and Otter Illustrations owner Matthew Sallack said. “So, that’s a near and dear charity to my heart, for sure.”

Liechty set up Dentonpalooza as a 501 (c)(3) organization earlier this year, so it is recognized by the state of Texas as a nonprofit. This year’s event raised over $5,000 as of Oct. 22, the latest total fundraising update.

“Our sole purpose is to make a once-a-year variety show,” Liechty said. “It’s a variety show [where] all the ticket sales go to charity, and it’s just kind of a celebration of all the goofy things in Denton.”

The event was sponsored by a slew of local businesses, including LSA Burger, which helped bring the charity event to life.

Dentonite and Dentonpalooza attendee Lisa Werst arrived at the event dressed head to toe in every color imaginable. She described Denton as a welcoming place for anyone of any background. 

“It’s very hard to pigeonhole Denton because on the exterior […] it’s a college town, but there is so much more to it – there are businesses here, there are families,” Werst said. “I mean, it’s a melting pot. It really is.”

Jeffrey Barnes, Leader of the Denton Institute of Phrenology Half-Fast Marching Band and two-time Grammy Award winner, has performed at both Dentonpaloozas and said the event truly focuses on what makes Denton unique. 

“We hope that people laugh at us,” Barnes said. “If they are not, then we aren’t doing our job.” 

With a second Dentonpalooza under Leichty’s belt, residents and Denton lovers can expect a third go around next year with a whole new lineup of quirky marvels and maybe an eventual “fourza.”

“It feels like we have the life for it now — like we could go on a little bit longer if we wanted to, which we plan on,” Liechty said. 

Despite the success of the event, Liechty said he would like to keep it community-focused with slow, measured growth. 

“I’ve lived a view places [but] I like the speed of life here,” Sallack said. “I like the culture – the people here are really cool. I think [Dentonpalooza] is absolutely indicative of and representative of our culture here and our scene here.” 

Featured Image: Eric Idol of XCW Professional Wrestling LLC riles up the crowd at Dentonpalooza Twooza on Oct. 22, 2022. Photo by Sarah Hogan

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Sarah Hogan

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