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Dentonpalooza represents the best and wackiest of Denton

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Article Originally Published by Hannah Johnson on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Hannah Johnson on North Texas Daily

What started as a joke festival poster of Denton oddities has turned into a charity event that captures the essence of Denton: wacky and weird. 

“If you are doing something off the beaten path, [then Denton] will accept you,” said Joey Liechty, a local musician and organizer of Dentonpalooza, in an interview with UNT Pod. “We will celebrate and champion you.”

Dentonpalooza is a charity event, which was hosted at Rubber Gloves Studio last night, that highlighted the sights, sounds and characters that make Denton unique. 

Proceeds from Dentonpalooza supported PanCAN, North America’s largest pancreatic cancer research charity, and the Denton Music and Art Collaborative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on subsidizing healthcare coverage for Denton-area musicians and artists. More than $10,000 had been raised for the two charities as of Nov. 22, the latest fundraising total update.

Organized by Dentonite Liechty and friends, Dentonpalooza began as a joke on Facebook before spreading across social media in Denton.

This summer, after one of the farewell shows at J&J’s Pizza’s Ol’ Dirty Basement, Liechty joked with musician Eric Michener, also known as Fishboy, about a guy he calls “Tiger Head Keyboard Dude.” The musician can be found around the strip malls of Denton playing the keyboard while wearing a massive tiger head. 

Liechty later made a joke festival flyer for the unique characters of Denton, including the Denton Spiderman, Flat Earth Guy, Denton’s infamous potholes, Frenchy from Frenchy’s Lawn and Tree and other oddities only found in Denton. 

“It just popped in my head – Denton fringe characters, what if they were all together?” Liechty said. 

After Liecthy’s flyer went viral, Liechty was soon approached by friends who encouraged him to make Dentonpalooza a real event. 

“Just for one evening, if we can decide to be neighborly and have a fun time and see a man play the keyboard with a tiger on his shoulder, that’s enough,” Liechty said. 

Dentonpalooza was created with featured performances and interviews from Rosie, the Recycled Books Dog, an interview with Frenchy, an interview with Shaun, the cashier from Midway Mart and many more acts. 

One notable act was the costume contest for Rose Costumes with the contestants being the First Wednesday Siren, Morrison’s Corn-Kits, Lucky the albino squirrel and the rats from the University Kroger.

The winners of this round to move onto the final costume contest were Lucky and Morrison’s Corn-Kits. 

Kelly McGuyer, a university alumna and Dentonite of 15 years, dressed up as Morrison’s Corn-Kits. McGuyer said being able to dress up as a building is what she loves about Denton. 

“Denton has my heart,” McGuyer said. “It’s a weird city where I can dress as a building and people [say], ‘Yeah, you be a building.’”

On the inside stage of Rubber Gloves, Dentonpalooza hosted several local artists and vendors. 

Emma Martino was working the booth for Pinned Ptera, a business for ethically sourced taxidermy insects. Martino grew up in Denton and just recently moved back, and said it was great to learn more about the city where she came from. 

“It’s unique and in the uniqueness, there’s a family that shows that difference is beautiful and everyone can come together for the betterment of the community,” Martino said. “It’s really beautiful in a time like now.” 

One act during Dentonpalooza was the filling of a time capsule to serve as an ode to those on the original poster who could not make the real event. Characters like a cup from Wassail Weekend, a pool noodle from the larpers at McKenna Park, a Darth Vader figurine to represent a student from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science and a floating dumpster.

Olivia Justice Countryman, a Dentonpalooza attendee, said she fell in love with Denton when she came here to attend the university and had to attend the celebration of the quirky town. 

“Denton leans into being weird and Denton allows people to be themselves even if that’s weird,” Countryman said. “[Dentonpalooza] is a celebration of that and all of the things that are loved in the weirdness. Austin’s got the ‘Keep Austin Weird’ things, but I feel like Denton holds its own.” 

Image source Dentonpalooza.com

Source: North Texas Daily

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