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Denton’s Pistons & Paint is back for its 19th year.

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If you’re a lover of classic cars, then you’re in luck as the 19th Annual Pistons & Paint will take place Saturday, November 13th at the North Texas Fairgrounds in Denton.

A celebration of American vehicles from 1972 and older, this year’s event will feature cars, music, food, and more for car lovers of all ages. 

20 Years & Counting

Although Pistons & Paint is holding its 19th annual event in 2021, it’s actually the 20th year for the event, according to Bubba Turner, show promoter for Pistons & Paint. Last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic. 

Denton Pistons & Paint
Tommy Moore (photographer) and Pistons & Paint.

According to Turner, the Chupacabras Car Club held its very first show back in 2001 in the parking lot of a chrome shop in Garland with about 20 vehicles on display. The show outgrew that parking lot, moving to a nearby bowling alley for a few years. After the bowling alley was sold, Turner says the Chupacabras found a new permanent home at the North Texas Fairground in Denton. And the group moved the show from August to November in favor of cooler weather. 

The move to a larger venue has allowed Pistons & Paint to grow over the years. “The last five to 10 years, we averaged about 500 classic cars (at the show),” Turner reports. “Our show is 1972 or older classics, which can be originals, restored, customized, hot rods, lowriders, trucks and motorcycles — we welcome all. And (cars have) to be American made — we don’t do imports.”

A Different Way to Judge

For those who register their classic car for the event, judging is done a bit differently at Pistons & Paint than at other car shows. Instead of standard car show classes like original, modified, and best interior, Turner says the 11 members of the Chupacabras Car Club have carte blanche to pick whatever car they like the best, for whatever reason, to award them their trophy. 

Denton Pistons & Paint
Tommy Moore (photographer) and Pistons & Paint.

And to make it more special, Turner says each member of the club hand makes their trophy that is presented to the winner. “That gives everyone a chance to win something, gives everyone an equal chance,” he adds. “You could park a $5,000 original beater next to somebody’s $75,000 show car and in a class judgment who’s probably going to win? It levels the playing field and it’s something different.”

The Chupacabras also invite other local car clubs and organizations to make their own trophy and award it during the show as well. Turner says the only stipulation is the winning car cannot be from their car club or organization. “We have five or six (car clubs) that come on a regular basis and do that now,” he adds. “It lets people get involved in picking something too, which is always cool.”

More Than Just Cars

Although the main focus of Pistons & Paint is the cars, there’s lots of other things to do and see as well. 

Turner says all the cars are displayed around a large outdoor stage where three bands will be playing throughout the day. The first band, Squeezebox Bandits, play honky-tonk country with a Texmex flavor, while the second band, Denton’s own Slobberbone, focuses on alt-country. And the headliner, The Derailers, is an American country band hailing from Austin. 

And when bands aren’t on stage, Turner says a DJ will be spinning a variety of music, from rockabilly to jump blues to R&B to soul.

When you need to refuel from all the dancing you’ll be doing, Pistons & Paint has lots of food choices to pick from. “The food is all over the map — I know we have barbecue out there this year,” Turner sayas. “We usually have typical fair food — turkey legs, things like that.” 

And Pistons & Paint also has a variety of merchandise vendors, from clothing to jewelry to model cars. 

Overall, Turner says Pistons & Paint is a fun outdoor event for the whole family to enjoy, that’s also budget-friendly. Admission for the event is $10 per person and children ages 10 and under are admitted free. “Where else can you see three live bands and 500 cars … for $10?” he adds. 

The 19th Annual Pistons & Paint takes place Saturday, November 13, 2021 at the North Texas Fairgrounds, 2217 N Carroll Blvd, in Denton. Gates open to the public at 8:00 am and the show gates close at 6:00 pm. 

General admission for the event is $10 per person and children age 10 and under are free. 

Vehicle registration is open now until November 1st. Vehicle registration is $35 and includes two admission wristbands. All other passengers must pay $10 admission. Those who pre-register by November 1st receive the official show T-shirt for free. Click here to register your vehicle online or download the mail-in registration form. 

For more information on Pistons & Paint, visit pistonsandpaint.com

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