Denton County Magazine July-August Edition

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DENTON County 13 Unique Things to Do and See They don't have these in Dallas!






Meet the rodeo clowns, pageant queens, hog judges and organizers of Denton County’s biggest event







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JULY/AUGUST Volume 1 Issue 1



They Don’t Have These in Dallas!

You won't find these unique Denton County experiences anywhere else.


Goodbye, Lattes. Hello, Hollywood.


Inside the North Texas Fair and Rodeo


Women Making Noise

Barista-turned-author Kayla Olson's first novel is headed for the big screen.

Meet the people behind Denton County's biggest event.

How many of our must-see destinations can you check off your list?

From pop to jazz to psychedelic rock, these talented artists are making their mark.

Photo by Michael Nguyen


J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y



What defines our county today

13 Know When to Hold ’Em

Expert advice from an Aubrey poker champion

14 State of the Arts

DE PA RTME NT S 32 Shopping: Downtown Sanger Three Sanger retailers battle online shopping with unique products and hometown service.

36 Community Spotlight: Pilot Point There are plenty of reasons to fall in love with Pilot Point and its small-town charm.

40 Dining: The Wharf


Photographer Al Key captures Denton’s storms and soul.

16 Nonprofit Spotlight

Corinth’s Children’s Voice of North Texas

18 4 Ways to Raise

Kids With Character

Parental guidance with Argyle Author James Capra

19 Boater Beware!

Steak and Seafood

Visit one of Roanoke's most anticipated new restaurants.

Protect your investment (and Texas lakes)

22 Animal Assistants

Two nonprofits change clients’ lives with furry friends

26 The Wines & Vines Find your new favorite bottle in Aubrey, Sanger or Ponder

28 Luxury Staycations

Treat yourself to something different

30 Laugh It Up

Names to know in the growing local comedy scene

IN E V E RY ISSUE 8 About This Issue 69 New in Town 76 See & Do On the cover: Todd Brewer captured this shot at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo.


D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

Top photo: Al Key; Middle photo: Erin Miller; Bottom photo: Ranch Hands Rescue


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Welcome From the Editorial Team


hat makes Denton County such a great place to live? Is it the historic and vibrant communities? The award-winning nightlife and entertainment options? How about the acclaimed dining and shopping? The passionate people doing interesting things? It’s all of the above! We are thrilled to be launching a bimonthly magazine that will keep you in the know about all of these topics and more. This inaugural issue of Denton County is packed with stories that will remind you why Denton County living is so special. It is the latest publication from Denton Media Company, publishers of the Denton Record-Chronicle. In this issue, you’ll meet some of your most fascinating neighbors — from a young Denton author whose novel is hitting the big screen to an Argyle parenting expert. Get to know some of our county’s most talented, up-and-coming female musicians on page 64 and the man who is spearheading the local comedy scene on page 30. Our cover story will introduce you to the organizers, rodeo clowns, pageant queens and livestock judges who bring Denton County’s largest event, the North Texas Fair and Rodeo, to life. While you’re here, don’t forget see how many of the unique spots in our “They Don’t Have These in Dallas!” feature you can check off your list. You’ll also learn about Roanoke’s hottest new dining spot, Sanger’s boutique shops, Denton County wineries, luxurious staycation destinations and some unusual nonprofits. Turn to page 36 to fall in love with Pilot Point or page 70 to get the facts on new mixed-use developments in Flower Mound and Corinth. Between these covers, you’ll also pick up some great water cooler and cocktail party fodder. Which Denton County town residents are the oldest? How much money does UNT make from football? How do we compare to Dallas when it comes to health? Where did Justin and Ponder get their names? Finally, check out “See & Do” on page 76 and “Open for Business” on page 69 to discover exciting events and new businesses. We hope to hear from you! Contact Executive Editor Sean McCrory at or 940-566-6879 with story suggestions and feedback on this issue.


D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

PUBLISHER Bill Patterson

EDITOR Kimberly Turner

M AG A Z I N E CO N S U LTA N T Rich Alfano


A DV E R T I S I N G DI RECTOR Sandra Hammond S A L E S M A N AG E R Shawn Reneau ACCO U N T EXECUTIVES Becka Corbitt Linda Horne Joanne Horst Danielle Thompson Shelly Vannatta MAILING ADDRESS 3555 Duchess Drive Denton, Texas 76205 EDITORIAL 940-566-6879 A DV E R T I S I N G INQUIRIES 940-566-6843

DESIGN DI RECTOR Ben Carpenter DESIGNERS Whitney Holden Phil Lor CO N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R S Kristy Alpert Wendy Angel Abigail Boatwright Mindy Charski Paula Felps Nicole Foster Megan Malone Donna Stokes Leslie Thompson CO N T R I B U T I N G PHOTOGRAPH ERS Abigail Boatwright Michael Carter John Sutton C R E AT I V E PA R T N E R madison/miles media

S T O RY I D E A S LETTERS TO TH E EDITOR Send to Please be sure to include your full name, city and phone number. Denton County magazine reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. L I K E U S FAC E B O O K FIND US ONLINE

© Copyright 2018: Denton County magazine is published by Denton Media Company, publishers of the Denton Record-Chronicle. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph or illustration without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Editorial content does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher.


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A Word From the Publisher


elcome to the inaugur a l i s s u e of D e n t o n County magazine, the latest publication from Denton Media Company. This magazine, mailed to over 23,000 aff luent households in northern Denton County, Flower Mound and Roanoke, will bring you great local features and go-and-do events from around North Texas. Every other month, we will publish a magazine that brings you fun stories and connects you to the people and communities of our area. You’ll read about the hottest dining and shopping destinations and the most influential leaders and cultural icons. You’ll be the first to learn about the things that matter most in Denton, Argyle, Aubrey, Krum, Ponder, Pilot Point, Justin, Sanger, Flower Mound, Roanoke and the surrounding communities.

“You’ll be the first to learn about the things that matter most in Denton, Argyle, Aubrey, Krum, Ponder, Pilot Point, Justin, Sanger, Flower Mound, Roanoke and the surrounding communities.” 10

D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

Our focus will be on local events, real estate and development, health and wellness, fashion and beauty, culture, philanthropy, home and design, arts and music, entertainment and much more. In September, Denton County magazine will focus on homes, interior design, architecture and gardening. In November, you can look forward to a dining and food issue. We’ll start 2019 with health and wellness. We’d love to hear your feedback. Please feel free to drop me a note at bpatterson@ Happy reading!

Bill Patterson Publisher Denton Media Company

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What defines our county today


Visit the wineries and vineyards of Denton County Treat yourself to a luxury staycation uu Laugh it up with some rising local comedians uu uu


Know When to Hold ’Em World Poker Tour Champion and busy mom Courtney Hopper offers tips on poker… and life. BY MINDY CHARSKI


ourtney Hopper is not only a busy mom, she’s also a horse trainer and the manager of her family’s business, Hopper Ranch, in Aubrey, Texas. On top of all of that, she also found time to become a poker champion. The 29-year-old, who has been playing the card game for the last nine years, took home the top spot in the Ladies $125 No Limit Hold ’Em event during last summer’s World Poker Tour. Hopper offered us some tips for success that can apply both at and away from the poker table….

Photo by John Sutton/Sutton Pictures

Be confident in your abilities. “People say it’s impossible to win all your money back playing tournaments, but I love tournaments — they’re my passion,” she says. “It’s an ongoing joke with my friends that when we enter a poker tournament, we stand up and look across the room so we can see all the chips we have to win.” Be patient. “I train horses, so I’m pretty patient when it comes to animals, but poker has definitely taught me to be a lot more patient. The days I am not being patient are the days I lose.” Learn how to read people. Hopper has discovered tricks for reading people. “If someone is talking really fast or a whole lot during the hand, that usually means they want you to fold. They don’t have a good hand. If you can see their heart beating in the side of their neck and real shaky hands, usually it means they have a good hand.”

Breathe deep. Hopper has found a consistent way to control her own body language. After she’s dealt her two hole cards, she slowly looks at them individually and takes a deep breath. “It keeps me level,” she says, “It reminds me to breathe, and that way I’m not giving off any signs with my breathing.” Combine luck and skill. Hopper has advantages that make her a strong player: “Poker is a game of math, so being really good at math is helpful.” But even though she sees it as a game of skill, she doesn’t hesitate to try to generate a little luck by wearing the same pair of clean black socks and camouflage slippers every time she plays. They were, of course, on her feet when she won the event last year. One last piece of advice: Never judge a poker player by her footwear. J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y




Capturing the Storms Award-winning photographer Al Key is passionate about nature’s power — and Denton County. BY ABIGAIL BOATWRIGHT


D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

All photos courtesy Al Key


t age 14, young Al Key picked up a camera to capture different types of storm clouds for his father. Long before “storm chasing” was a thing, Key and his dad — a UNT professor and meteorology textbook author — followed severe weather for research. “He was really interested in hurricane-induced tornadoes, and I became really interested in lightning,” Key said. “My father passed away in the early ’80s, but the spirit for being out in the weather and researching it has always lived with me.” Born and raised in Denton, Key studied meteorology at Texas A&M University before transferring to the University of North Texas. A reporter from the Denton Record-Chronicle who covered Key’s lightning photos suggested he try photojournalism. A week later, he was on assignment for the newspaper and soon changed his major to photojournalism. “[Photojournalism] was what I was

meant to do,” Key said. In 1987, he joined the newspaper staff, photographing people, animals, wildlife and nature in our community for nearly 30 years. His work has received dozens of awards. “I enjoy being part of the Denton community and being a photographer in Denton,” Key said. “I always thought I was destined to be the photographer that was going to record the history of Denton through my lens.” Today, Key focuses on his role as photo director of Denton’s Thin Line Festival, his freelance photography business and his family. Married to journalist Kaycee Key, Key has two sons and two grandchildren. Key loves photographing lightning shows, but the endeavor is not without risks. In the spring of 1984, he was struck by lightning while taking photos on a deserted road between Watauga and Keller. Although his body had burns from the rivets in his jeans and eyelets of his shoes, and his back is covered in

Lichtenberg figures — burns that look like lightning — he lived to tell the tale. Now that radio transmitters allow him to control the camera from the safety of his truck, the danger is greatly reduced. Chasing tornadoes can be incredibly dangerous — even with proper training — but Key says there is nothing like the rush that comes from experiencing the energy produced by these weather phenomena. “It’s something that you never forget,” Key said. “You don’t just see it, you feel it through the bottom of your feet. You feel the pressure on your skin through your arms. Every part of your body is detecting the fact that there is this really massive energy really close to you.”

J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y




ACT YOUR Children’s Voice


of North Texas


Two Corinth parents and their nonprofit organization are providing support and assistance to other families with hearing-impaired children. BY NICOLE FOSTER

here’s a 17-year age gap between the average Denton resident and the average Argyle resident. Is your Denton County community full of freshfaced Millennials? Or are you surrounded by older, wiser Gen Xers? Here’s the average age of your neighbors…

Denton Sanger Krum Little Elm Lewisville Corinth Lake Dallas Roanoke Ponder Aubrey Flower Mound Pilot Point Justin Highland Village Argyle Denton County Average

33.8 *Data from Sperling’s Best Places


W 27.9 29.5 31.6 31.8 32.4 34.4 35.0 35.1 36.2 36.5 38.5 38.6 38.6 42.1 45.0

hen Tiffany and Frankie Sanford’s daughter was born deaf, they were unsure of their options and who to trust for help. They eventually chose cochlear implants for their infant daughter, but during the journey, they found that answers weren’t easy to come by. The couple decided that they wanted to help serve and assist other parents who had infants and children with similar diagnoses, so they established Corinth-based Children’s Voice of North Texas in 2013. The nonprofit makes it easy for parents to locate trusted professionals who work with young deaf people between infancy and school age. The organization also offers financial support for those who have difficulty affording medical expenses, speech therapy, tuition for specialized schools and the technology and equipment that are vital for children with hearing loss. So far, the Sanfords’ organization has helped 36 families in and around Denton County. “Families fill out applications, our board approves them, and they don’t see a bill,” explains Frankie. “The doctor doesn’t ask for payment. They send bills to us and we cover them. We take that burden off families so they can focus on their child and make sure he or she has everything they need.” According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, for every 1,000 infants in the United States, between one and six are hearing impaired. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that

D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

Children’s Voice founder Frankie Sanford (far right) and his wife, Tiffany, are joined by former Dallas Cowboys Rocket Ismail (left center) and Cliff Harris (right center). The Cowboys help the organization raise funds at its annual golf tournament.

nearly 50 percent of hearing loss is due to genetic causes. Maternal infections during pregnancy, complications after birth and head trauma cause one out of four cases of hearing loss among children. For the remaining 25 percent, causes are unknown. Children’s Voice of North Texas strives to help parents find the best path for their hearing impaired children. They rely on goodwill of the community to achieve this goal. Frankie says every dollar contributed goes directly toward helping kids. If you have time to volunteer or would like to make a monetary donation, please call 940-230-1313.

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4 Ways to Raise Kids With Character Argyle author and father of six James Capra shares his parenting tips. BY ABIGAIL BOATWRIGHT


arenting in today’s world can be a challenge, and there is no one right way to raise children. But if you’re aiming to send them into adulthood with a strong moral compass, well-developed character and a devotion to improving their community, you’ve got the same priorities as Argyle-based leadership expert James Capra and his wife, Shelly. The couple has raised six children — now aged 22 to 32 — and the parenting book, Raising Courageous Children in a Cowardly Culture, shares what they learned along the way. (It is available now on Amazon.) James Capra shared a few tips with us… Don’t be your child’s best friend. Some parents focus on being their child’s buddy, rather than their parent. Capra says this is a mistake. Your child needs you to be honest when you teach them right and wrong — something a friend won’t do. “My kids are my children and I love them. I would die for them, but I am not their best friend,” Capra says. “This starts when they are very little. We don’t let our kids hit us or tell us ‘no.’ Those are expectations we set from the beginning. From the very time they could start understanding, they were taught to be respectful in how they treated us.” Talk to your children early, about everything. Starting when your kids are tiny, find an appropriate way to open up conversations about everything from “sex, drugs and rock ’n roll” to your faith. “We talk about everything — because if we don’t, somebody else is going to pour into them with a twisted version of those topics,” Capra says.

uu In addition to being a parenting author, James Capra is the CEO and founder of Front Line Leadership Group in Argyle. As the Chief of Global Operations for the Drug Enforcement Agency, he was responsible for offices in 68 countries. He served in the U.S. military and has called Argyle home for 12 years. Capra has authored three books and is a sought-after speaker. For more information, visit


D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

Reinforce your family values. Build times into your daily routine to develop your family values. As they worked to raise individuals with their own strengths and gifts, the Capras had many conversations about faith, God, personal identity and prayer each evening. “We constantly told our kids that they were made on purpose, for a great purpose, but they get to figure that out for themselves, as God would point them toward their professions,” Capra says. “We were trying to develop an armor of confidence, but that if they struggled, it wouldn’t be the end of the universe.” Don’t give up. Capra says he’s talked to many parents who are heartbroken over estranged children. His advice: “Your child needs you, and they need to know that they are loved. You can still make a difference in your child’s life, even if you have made mistakes. There’s no such thing as perfect parents. There is always hope. You can still connect with your kid, no matter their age. Don’t give up.”

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The zebra mussel is a troublesome and costly invasive species that has arrived in Denton County. Protect Texas lakes and your investment. BY MINDY CHARSKI


ebra mussels are a small invasive species that can wreak big havoc, and they’ve arrived in Denton County. Ray Roberts and Lewisville lakes are officially deemed “infested,” but what does that mean for boaters and beachgoers? Nothing good. “The definition of an invasive species is that it has, or has the potential to have, impacts on the ecosystem, the economy or human health and quality of life,” says Monica E. McGarrity, who leads the Aquatic Invasive Species Team at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Zebra mussels hit all three.” The zebra mussels in Denton County lakes can lead to negative effects on the health of sport fish populations, clogged pipelines of untreated surface water, beaches littered with sharp shells and damaged boats. Fortunately, if you’re a boater, you can help. You can’t stop the problem at the two infested lakes, but you can take steps to prevent zebra mussels from spreading to other bodies of water.

Start by cleaning, draining and drying your boats, trailer and gear after a day on the lake. “If you can leave the drain plug out while you travel, that can help it dry out,” McGarrity says. “Texas requires that all the water be drained out of the boat — live wells, bait buckets, anything that contains water from the lake.” You might assume that you’re not transporting mussels because you don’t see them, but these shellfish hide in hard-tosee areas like motor intakes, and the larvae, which can live in residual water, are microscopic. McGarrity also advises boaters whose vessels are stored in water at a marina against moving the boats unless they can be professionally decontaminated with hot, high-pressure water and allowed to dry completely. These containment efforts not only prevent this invasive species from spreading to another Texas lake, they also help protect boat owners’ investments.


Denton County’s Clean Bill of Health DENTON COUNTY 12% 22%



Poor or fair health


Adult obesity



Physical inactivity



Access to exercise opportunities



Alcohol-impaired driving deaths




Mammography screening


13% 64% 9% 29% 9%

Diabetes prevalence


Insufficient sleep


Children in poverty


* All data is from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The annual report uses more than 30 factors to determine how healthy a community is.


D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

We’re #1! A 2018 study found that Denton County beats every other Texas county in health outcomes, a measurement determined using length and quality of life.* Here’s what we’re doing right compared to the rest of our state…

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COUNT Y LINE Two Argyle nonprofits are changing their human clients’ lives with the help of some furry friends. BY NICOLE FOSTER


hen you think of offering health, therapy and assistance to people with physical, mental or emotional issues, you probably don’t think of horses, goats and pigs. But two Argyle nonprofits do. New Hope Equine Assisted Therapy and Ranch Hands Rescue are staffed by professional counselors and furry menageries offering boundless love to clients who range from 2 to 92 years old.

animal assistants

“We do something that nobody else in the world does: We pair neglected animals with neglected people.” New Hope Despite its name, New Hope Equine Assisted Therapy isn’t just home to horses. You’ll also find three goats and a pig who are happily assisting clients. Horses, however, are the focus because they are very effective therapy animals. The benefits for riders include enhanced core strength, flexibility, problem-solving skills and hand/eye coordination. Before New Hope’s first rider with cerebral palsy began equine therapy, he was too weak to sit up straight in his wheelchair and had to be strapped in. Riding turned him into a cowboy. His core muscles and flexibility have improved to the point that he can now sit upright and balance on the back of a horse.


D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

Photo courtesy of Ranch Hands Rescue.


Top photo courtesy of New Hope Equine Assisted Therapy; Bottom photos courtesy of Ranch Hands Rescue.

New Hope’s equine therapy helps riders of all sizes (above). Horseback riding has been shown to have cognitive, physical, emotional and social benefits. Meanwhile, Ranch Hands Rescue (below) specializes in assisting humans who have faced severe trauma and animals who have experienced neglect and abuse.

Executive director Sharla Kershen and her team coordinate with doctors, parents, psychiatrists and physical therapists to understand specific disabilities so that New Hope can set personalized goals. For clients with emotional disabilities and anxiety, bonds made with the animals can help to conquer fears. Sharla recalls a phone call from a parent that made her day: “Our client had anxiety and depression. She was very introverted and not social at all. Her mom called one day and said, ‘We’re not going to make the lesson because she wants to go the school dance.’” Ranch Hands Rescue Ranch Hands Rescue (RHR) is home to 57 animals who have been neglected or abused. Each one has special needs, just like the organization’s human clients. Unlike New Hope, RHR is not a riding facility. Clients are victims of trauma and heal through the relationships they build with the animals. The program is designed for people who have spent time in traditional therapy but aren’t getting better. The center specializes in working with victims of sexual abuse, sex trafficking and post traumatic stress disorder, “We do something that nobody else in the world does,” says RHR president and CEO Bob Williams. “We pair neglected animals with neglected people.”

Between the farm animals and the seven full-time counselors, the ranch’s success rate is so impressive that University of North Texas has started gathering data. The hope is that the research will help more facilities like RHR open around the world. Get Involved Beyond devotion for the well-being of animals and clients, these organizations have one clear commonality: They rely on volunteers and donations to keep the programs running. Most helpers want to

work with the animals, but Sharla and Bob need people behind the scenes to help with social media updates, website management, event planning and office duties. RHR offers community members the opportunity to sponsor a child, animal or veteran on a monthly basis, and both nonprofits always accept donations for gas and electric bills, feed, hay and staffing. “People run the other way when they see me,” jokes Bob. “I’ve always got my hand out.” Then, with passion, he adds, “We are a place of healing. A place of hope. For both people and animals.” J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y



Amelia Earhart’s Visit

Photo courtesy of Denton Public Library

Amelia Earhart (center) is pictured with two unidentified women at Denton’s Texas State College for Women (now Texas Woman’s University) in this 1936 photo. During her visit to the college, the celebrated aviator shared stories of her adventures with students and encouraged women to overcome boundaries. Earhart herself was, of course, no stranger to pushing limits. In 1923, she became only the 16th woman to receive a pilot’s license. She broke numerous distance and altitude records for women in aviation before disappearing mysteriously on July 2, 1937 while trying to circumnavigate the globe.

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Football at UNT


ver wonder how much green it takes to be mean? Here’s the low-down on what the University of North Texas spent (and made) on football during the 2016–17 school year, according to NCAA data.

Number of assistants scouting surrounding counties

Coaching salaries, benefits, etc.

Number of schools scouted by each assistant

Recruiting (lowest of eight public in-state Football Bowl Subdivision programs)

Number of players signed last December

Number of fans, on average, at last season’s home games

Differentiated Instruction. Student-Centered Teaching. Experiential Learning.

Football revenue


NOW ENROLLING FOR THE 2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR! PRE-K - 12TH GRADE Schedule a tour today: 940.382.6771 2270 Copper Canyon Road Argyle, Texas, 76226

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Wines of

Vines & Denton County

Aubrey’s Fortunata Winery offers crisp whites, flavorful rosés, full-bodied reds and even sparkling wines. Tastings start at $7 and can be paired with a cheese board or pizza from the stone oven.



ong before the first vines arrived in Napa Valley or the hills of Walla Walla showed any signs of grape growth, the fields around Texas were sprouting with the buds of North America’s earliest vineyards. Wine-making in Texas dates back to 1662, when a group of Franciscan priests arrived to find the land was ripe for establishing vineyards. Prohibition put a halt on much of the state’s production, and it’s only in the past decade that Texas

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has begun to reclaim its place as one of the nation’s best wine-growing regions. There are now more than 394 wine producers in the state of Texas, and of course, some of those call Denton County home. The county’s wineries and vineyards are set along what is known as the Texoma American Viticulture Area (AVA), a wine region that stretches 3,650 square miles along the Texas-Oklahoma line. While there are a handful of vineyards in the region growing their own grapes, many area producers buy their

Photos by Michael Carter

Sophisticated wine connoisseurs may find a new favorite bottle right here in Aubrey, Sanger, Ponder or Lewisville. BY KRISTY ALPERT

Top photo courtesy Larue Vineyards; Bottom photo courtesy of Sugar Ridge Winery

fruit from other wine regions around the world then blend and age the wines on local soil to create quality products unique to Denton County. “Denton County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state, and with that growth comes the development of new businesses,” says Travis Veselka, director of membership and marketing at the Denton County Chamber of Commerce. “Among these have been the establishment of more local wineries, vineyards, wine bars and wine retailers serving a population whose demand for wine is growing every year. Many local restaurants and wine shops have been recognized for their outstanding wine lists as well.” From rural vineyards to urban wineries, check out some of these Denton County wine producers for a true taste of what the region offers. Fortunata Winery Aubrey, Texas Named after the Italian word for “fortunate” — the feeling owners Shari and Dr. Kelby Trusty feel on a daily basis now that they are living their dream in Aubrey — Fortunata Winery has grown from a pastoral property into a thriving destination for weddings, wine tastings and private events. The Tuscan-themed winery features a tasting room, rock pizza oven and outdoor fireplace with a deck for live music. There is also a small wedding chapel and overnight villas for rent on the property for wedding and overnight guests. The tasting room is open Thursday and Friday from 5 to 9 p.m., and Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m. 3 Vines Vineyard Ponder, Texas Located on three acres inside the petite town of Ponder, 3 Vines Vineyard grows a variety of wine grapes perfect for home winemaking. The vineyard hosts a harvest once per year — dates are dependent upon the weather and when the grapes ripen. During that event, visitors can pick their own fruit and pay by the pound from the vineyard’s range of wine grapes, including sangiovese, syrah,

cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. Call 972-998-5207 for appointments. Larue Vineyards Lewisville, Texas Family-owned and operated since 2008, Larue Vineyards is the first winery to open in Lewisville. Their “Me & You” wines range from a sweet white blend to a red blend aged in French oak for one year and a very special brandy called La Resistance, which is made from distilling their dry red wine. Wine tastings are complimentary every Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m., with winery tours starting Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and “paint and sip” classes running every Saturday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The company also specializes in creating custom wine labels for special occasions or business gifts.

Grover Cleveland Joiner III used the passion for wine instilled in him by his French mother to open Larue Vineyards (above). In Sanger and Bristol, Don and Michele Andrews offer creative concoctions and events at Sugar Ridge Winery (below).

Sugar Ridge Winery Sanger and Bristol, Texas Sugar Ridge Winery opened its doors in 2011, when owners Don and Michele Andrews began selling their creative Bristol-made creations to friends and family. They now operate two locations — one in Bristol and the other in Sanger — where they offer tastings of their 11 wines for $10, and a variety of events and live music on site. Popular labels include the Mora Negro blackberry wine and the Papa’s Peach wine, both of which are included in the tasting. J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y






ou don’t have to go far to take a break from your everyday routine. Whether you’re too short on time for a European vacay, or you’re looking for a unique spot close to home for a family gathering or special occasion, these local rentals will help you break out of your rut without leaving Denton County.

Jolly Cabin If it’s quirkiness and character you’re looking for, you’ll find it in spades at this Flower Mound property known as the “Jolly Cabin.” The quiet, wooded property on Grapevine Lake offers a pool, piano and a private trail down to the lake. Mountain bikers, hikers and runners will love the connection to the Northshore Mountain Bike and Running Trails — 22 miles of Jolly Cabin


tree-covered trails and picnic areas that never feel crowded despite their popularity. While nature lovers of all kinds will appreciate the fire pit, large outdoor gathering space and deer that wander into the yard to graze. Indoor get-togethers are easy too with a 12-person dining table, four bedrooms and spacious living room — all with charming and unexpected décor. Folk art, vintage dishware, delightful Texan touches and even musical instruments make every room an adventure. One reviewer held his company meeting there and said the property is “fantastic value, half the cost of the Gaylord or Great Wolf with ten times the character.” Price: $650+/night Find it: Refuge at the Lake Offering “all the amenities you’d expect and some you didn’t even know you needed,” this serene Flower Mound retreat on Lake Grapevine is “designed to allow you to effortlessly host your guests and enjoy their company while you retreat from the daily stresses of life.” The beautifully decorated modern home boasts an open floor plan and clean finishes throughout. The space sleeps 12, all of whom can dine together in the airy dining area. Both master bedrooms provide lovely views of the lake. The downstairs master has an oversized

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Refuge at the Lake

couch and sliding doors that open to the deck area. Upstairs, the master has high vaulted ceilings, an office nook and a small seating area to take advantage of the view. A game area off the living room offers a card table and bumper pool table. For more fun, head outside. You’ll be greeted with ample spaces for relaxation on the deck and patio, a hot tub, a gorgeous firepit and views of the lake. If you’d like to get more adventurous, follow the lead of one guest who took the house’s private path to the lake to enjoy the provided kayaks, life vests and sandals. Finally, a screened living space with an electric fireplace will allow you to dine “outside” without ants (or rain) raining on your picnic parade. Price: $700/night Find it: Ranch House Getaway Looking for a taste of the country close to the city? Look no further than this Denton home located on an actual horse ranch. One previous guest raved, “The setting is very unique with horses and (quiet) chickens right at the gate surrounding the property — an authentic Texas country experience. The house sits on a hill with the deck facing west for brilliant sunsets.” Twenty-five acres of pastures, scenic rolling hills, a pond, creek and top-notch stargazing opportunities will make you

Your Favorite Brands are in your OWN backyard Ranch House Getaway

feel miles away from all of your daily stress. Inside, the amenities strike the perfect balance between pastoral and modern. Rustic furnishings and bucolic finishes contrast with crisp linens and stainless steel appliances. It’s country living with just a touch of city slickness. With sleeping accommodations for eight and a dining area that easily seats 20, this property is a fabulous option for family reunions, graduations or wedding parties. If you’re up for a trip to the races, take your time. Enjoy the large swimming pool, grill up some barbecue and relax on the patio before making the short eight-minute trip to the Texas Motor Speedway. Price: $495/night Find it: Lewisville Lakehouse Give yourself a tranquil change of pace at this 4,916-square-foot oasis on Lake Lewisville. Relax in the hot tub, play some pool in the game room, enjoy gorgeous views of the lake from the balcony or cozy up next to one of the three fireplaces. Outside, the private, beautifully landscaped backyard has a pebble tech pool, complete with water feature and spa, as well as patios with multiple sitting areas and a fire pit. Inside, soaring floor-to-ceiling windows bring natural light into the two-story foyer and a spacious family room features a stone surround fireplace with raised hearth. The four bedrooms will sleep up to eight guests, and the large kitchen offers a breakfast area with patio access, granite-topped island, double ovens and butlers pantry with wine rack, making it a great rental for foodies and family gatherings. Price $600/night Find it:


Come visit the Golden Triangle Mall today and discover all the great styles just a stone’s throw away.

Exit 463 off I-35E Denton, Texas


Lewisville Lakehouse

(940) 566-6024

Releasing Your Inner Fashionista That’s How We Denton

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Laugh It Up!


Joey Johnson is spearheading Denton County’s rising comedy scene. BY KIMBERLY TURNER


our years ago, Joey Johnson just wanted a place to do stand-up. Booking other comics, organizing festivals, promoting, growing the local scene, starting a podcast to interview other local comics — those were the last things on his mind. Yet here we are in 2018, and Johnson is doing all of that and more. Just two years after doing his first backyard set, Johnson (then known as Joe Coffee) was named Best Comedian at the DAM Awards. He soon began hosting open mic comedy nights. He was asked to do his podcast on and now hosts that show, Nobody Knows With Joey Johnson, along with cohost, rapper and magician Ritchy Flo. Together, the two friends interview other local comedians, artists and eccentrics. Yet despite all of this, success hasn’t gone to Johnson’s head. Regarding his Best Comedian award, he says, “It was weird because I don’t really consider comedy a competition. It’s a cool thing


to be recognized for what you do, but in the same breath, I’m only four years in. I’m still trying to get better, so I don’t necessarily want to have that ‘best comedian’ title in my own head.” Off stage, his self-deprecating attitude is charming. In an online documentary called Joe Coffee: The Cool Step-Dad of Denton Comedy, he waits for his turn on stage at a busy bar and tells the camera person, “It’s funny. All these people look at me and they think I’m important and I’m not. I’m not even the funniest person in Denton.” On stage, he turns that criticism outward. “I would describe my comedy as roast-y,” he says. “I don’t think that’s a word, but we’re going to make it one. I like to make fun of things. I think a lot of things are generally pretty dumb, and I’m frustrated with them. I’m definitely roast-y. I also try to be likeable, but I think every comic attempts to be likeable.” The Denton area comedy scene is rising


Dena A. Reecer

Board Certified Estate Planning & Probate Law Texas Board of Legal Specialization The Reecer Law Firm specializes in estate planning and probate. Dena is Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Fewer than 700 of the 100,000 licensed attorneys in the State of Texas are Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law. Only Board-Certified lawyers may publicly represent themselves as a specialist in a select area of the law. “Our business philosophy is to provide our clients with the highest commitment to excellence and integrity in our area of the practice of law. In working with our clients, we are able to provide a comprehensive approach to assessing our clients’ needs and we strive to provide the highest level of care, service and expertise,” says Dena Reecer. The Reecer Law Firm counsels their clients during some of the most stressful periods of their lives (i.e., losing a loved one). They build trust with their client by listening to their needs and by communicating with them in a timely and effective manner. This allows them to provide a plan that is specifically tailored to their needs.

The Reecer Law Firm | 400 W. Oak St., Ste. 205, Denton, TX 76201 | 940-382-3168 | DE-1685821-01


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fast — with last October’s debut of the North Texas Comedy Festival and more and more stages available for local comics — but Johnson says there’s still a lot of opportunity. “Obviously, a comedy club would be cool to have here,” he says. “Sustaining a club is super hard though. We have a comedy festival, and I would like to see that get bigger. I’d like to see more open mics in the area, more paid shows where we can bring in headliners from out of town and pay them good money. Really, it’d just be great to create a scene that can be thrown into a tour circuit, so whenever people decide they’re going to go on tour, not only do they stop in Dallas, they go, ‘Hey, this means I can go to Denton, get paid. They have a good scene and good audiences.’ It just takes time and growth and financial planning. That’s ideal.” Catch Johnson running open mic nights at Killer’s Tacos on Thursdays and Bearded Monk on Sundays.

5 Local Comics to Watch We asked Joey Johnson to share some of his favorite Denton County acts. uu Tony Casillas is, Johnson says, “Really good. He just got done working with Preston Lacy from Jackass. He’s a really good host, super personable.” uu Colton Jones runs Cabernet Comedy Open Mic on Mondays at Wine Squared and teaches comedy. He also, um, sells photos of his feet for $15. uu Taylor Higginbotham is “huge” and this year’s DAM Awards Best Comedian. He also runs the Brave Boys Podcast Live events every Tuesday at Dan’s Silver Leaf. uu Dalton Pruitt, Johnson says, “does almost controversial, edgier material, but he pulls it off in Denton super well because he’s really smart and well spoken.” uu Mikey D. is new to the Denton area and will be opening for Silicon Valley star T.J. Miller in November. Johnson says, “He’s always super busy, always at the clubs. If he’s not performing, he’s working the door. Guys like that who can work that hard at something are super admirable. Anytime someone puts in actual work toward being funny, toward the business side of it off stage, I think that’s awesome.”

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I Looking for an unusual gift? Visit Sanger where Le Bleu Bonnet Boutique and its neighbors — Gypsy Cowgirl and Burlap and Barbed Wire — offer everything from local art to homemade jelly.

Shop Downtown Sanger

Three retailers are battling online shopping with unique products and hometown service. BY MEGAN MALONE


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t’s a warm, sunny Saturday in May, and the streets of downtown Sanger — population 7,991 — are quiet. The Bolivar Street boutiques have only a few window shoppers, most of whom are making their way to or from Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, one of nine Babe’s establishments in north Texas. Three teenage girls take a picture next to the rainbow-painted fence perpendicular to Gypsy Cowgirl, the prominent hot-pink boutique on North 4th Street. “We’re such tourists,” they giggle. Along the fence, someone has painted “SHOP DOWNTOWN SANGER” in black spray paint — all caps. The charm and whimsy of downtown Sanger helped the sleepy town, founded in 1886 as a stop on the Sante Fe Railroad, become a beloved destination for Dallas–Fort Worth residents and visitors passing through along Interstate 35 — the 1,568-mile highway that stretches from the U.S.-Canada border down to the border town of Laredo, Texas. Lately though, Sanger’s shops are experiencing the economic hit that’s impacting small towns across the country in the age of online shopping. Fortunately, these retailers don’t give up easily. They’re using a combination of unique products, passion for their businesses and exceptional customer service to stay afloat during tough times. Downtown Vendor Malls Just a 10-minute drive north of Denton, downtown Sanger offers an assortment of shops selling antiques, local art and boutique-style clothing and accessories. Jeanie Pryor owns Le Bleu Bonnet Boutique, a vendor mall at 302 Bolivar. Near the back of the store, brick walls are lined with burlap tote bags, homemade jellies and craft supplies. Local vendors rent many of the booths. Pryor uses extra booth space to hold crafting classes and host local crafters who want somewhere to work on projects. Up front, visitors can peruse a vast collection of Tyler Candle Company products — candles, melts, melting pots, laundry detergent and before-you-go

toilet spray. Shoppers come for the candles and stay for the delightful aromas that permeate the store, says Pryor. Next door, another vendor mall, Burlap and Barbed Wire, offers vintage furniture, boutique-style women’s clothing and an assortment of unique antiques and refurbished collectibles. The store’s owner, Rachel Wiedeke, is a 12-year Sanger resident. She says that during the four years she has managed the shop at 308 Bolivar, traffic in the area has steadily declined. It’s the result, she says, of the retail apocalypse impacting brick-andmortar businesses across the country. “When you can shop in your PJs in bed and have it delivered for free the next day, us little guys can’t compete with that,” she says. Sanger Spirit What online giants can’t compete with, on the other hand, is Sanger’s vibrant soul. Though the shops have seen more profitable times, their owners remain optimistic about the future thanks to the unbreakable spirit of Sanger. Many shops partner to host community events downtown, like the Mother’s Day Wine and Chocolate Stroll. The busiest time of the year, Wiedeke says, is fall through winter. The annual Sanger Celebration on the second Saturday in September is downtown’s biggest event of the year, followed closely by the Christmas parade. Even though life in Sanger moves a little slower during the summer, there’s still plenty to see. If you visit downtown in

August, try a taste of what locals consider the “best barbeque you’ll ever have” at Bolivar St. BBQ before shopping for art and antiques on the square. Top off the evening by sipping a glass of chardonnay at the Sugar Ridge Winery (see page 26) while listening to live music coming from the park just a few yards away. This is the lively small-town spirit that business owners say makes their community special. And it’s the reason they’re determined to do what it takes to see the town of Sanger thrive, once again. Unique Offerings Small businesses in Sanger are also challenging online retail giants by offering unique pieces that shoppers can’t easily find online. Nancy McAlister, the owner of Gypsy Cowgirl, says that she makes it a point to sell stuff that visitors can’t find elsewhere. “This is the only place you can go in Sanger where there’s something for everybody,” she says. Gypsy Cowgirl’s building, originally built in 1898 as part of the O.M. Gentle Hardware Store, is divided into two sections. Fittingly enough, the right side of the store carries concealed carry handbags while the left side sells what McAlister calls “pacifist purses.” Which style is more popular? “Oh, definitely the concealed carry,” she says. McAlister supports local artists and photographers by featuring their work in a gallery at the back of her store. Near the entrance, visitors can find hundreds of Sports Blocks — custom-made wall art featuring local, college and professional sports teams as well as police and fire

Gypsy Cowgirl's concealed carry handbags outsell its "pacifist purses" every time.

rescue. Sports Blocks, McAlister says, aren’t available online. “Nearly 80 percent of customers are from out-of-town,” says McAlister, so she keeps prices affordable to sell to both locals and tourists. Original art in Gypsy Cowgirl’s gallery ranges from $20 to more than $400. Small-Town Advantage If you ask McAlister what makes her store unique, she’ll tell you all about the local artists and writers whose creations line the stores walls. Each piece has its own story — and hearing her tell each one with warmth and enthusiasm is the sort of experience you just can’t get from an online shopping cart. In fact, of all the things that make the shops of Sanger unique, the friendly service and passion the boutique owners have for the work they do each day stand out most. After all, these aren’t just businesses on the same block; they’re a community. And when you’re in Sanger, they want you to feel like part of the family too.

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Jackson Hagen Criminal Law

Cary Piel and Rick Hagen


xperience matters. Rick Hagen and Cary Piel are both board certified in criminal law and have over 50 years combined experience in criminal law.

When people say a case cannot be won, that the case is impossible, then Cary has found his next challenge,� said Murphree.

Former Texas Ranger and current Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree calls Cary Piel hands down the best trial attorney he has ever seen. “No one is going to out-work Cary Piel in trial preparation. No one is going to be more creative and detailed in presenting a case to a jury. And no one is even going to think about attempting the tough cases that he takes on and wins.

Cary has exclusively practiced criminal law his entire 25-year career, and has been Board Certified in criminal law since 1999. Cary has tried over 250 jury trials. He has been featured on multiple national television shows such as Dateline and Snapped, all on murder cases Cary has successfully tried.

Cary received his undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin, and his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. He served his country in uniform in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Army, attaining the rank of Captain. Piel has immersed himself in the study of advanced forensics training under nationally renowned forensic and crime scene experts, earning certifications in Blood Stain Pattern Analysis, Shooting Incident Reconstruction and Crime Scene Reconstruction. The Texas International Association of Arson Investigators awarded him for Outstanding Achievement in Arson Investigation. Piel has been featured on national television programs for his successful prosecution of complex murder cases, featuring his prosecution of Stobaugh, Lozano, and Orr. In their first trial together, Piel and Hagen obtained acquittals for a client charged with two counts of criminally negligent homicide in a case that left two people dead, twenty-three taken to the hospital and seven others injured. “On day one Cary came in and completely changed our strategy on that case,” said Hagen. “He brings a relentless military approach. He’s a fighter, a tactician, a mercenary in the courtroom,” said Hagen. Hagen grew up in Argyle and graduated from Denton High School. After receiving the American Jurisprudence Award in trial techniques from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, Hagen began his career in criminal law as a briefing attorney on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals—the highest criminal court in Texas—and then as a felony prosecutor. Hagen immediately received national recognition when he successfully defended a Denton County juror who was held in contempt of court for asserting her right to privacy during jury selection. The case set legal precedent and was featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Aggressive and skilled criminal defense lawyers. as driving while intoxicated, indecency with a child, assault, interference with 911 calls, and homicide. Hagen obtained full membership in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association as a bareback rider when injuries ended his rodeo career. Hagen recognizes, “My experience in the rodeo arena, and Cary’s experience in the military, gives both of us a competitive advantage in the courtroom.” Hagen is a former President of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. About Hagen, Piel states “Rick knows more about procedure and the constitution than any lawyer in Texas. He has fingertip knowledge of the law.”

When former Denton County Sheriff Weldon Lucas was indicted for perjury in Dallas County he hired Rick Hagen. Hagen immediately began working on Sheriff Lucas’ case and the indictment was dismissed within one week. Hagen’s resume includes the successful defense of elected officials, physicians, business professionals, entertainers, and athletes. Juries have acquitted Hagen’s clients of offenses such

The Texas Building | 100 W. Oak St., Ste 302, Denton, TX 76201 • 940-566-1001 |


PILOT D POINT From tulip fields and horse trails to the historic downtown and Bonnie & Clyde Days, there are plenty of reasons to fall in love with Pilot Point and its small-town charm. BY DONNA STOKES


Who’s There? Pilot Point, the oldest settlement in Denton County and a designated Texas Scenic City, is a young and active community of 5,047 residents. “What attracts both visitors and residents to Pilot Point is its quality of life, outdoor lifestyle and small-town charm,” says Amanda Davenport, the town’s director of economic development. “It’s quaint, historic Texas. We still have a lot of that charm and are working hard to protect it.” With a median age of 39, residents are in their peak earning years. About half

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commute into Dallas or nearby cities for work, but according to Davenport, many work right here in Pilot Point, which has 25 thriving cabinet or millworking shops serving booming construction projects in Dallas, Austin and Houston. These cabinet shops are the town’s biggest industry, but the community is also known for outdoor tourism, including horse ranches and farms. Like most communities in Denton County, Pilot Point has a growing population, but plans are in place to maintain the town’s rural and historic appeal.

Photo courtesy of Lindell Dillon

enton County residents looking for a friendly welcome and an authentic northern Texas adventure — exploring on horseback, riding a personal watercraft or even hobnobbing with lemurs and zebras — need only head to the growing community of Pilot Point on the eastern shore of Lake Ray Roberts. “Pilot Point is a friendly community with people waving and stopping to speak when they see you,” says Mayor Shea Dane-Patterson. “The community makes newcomers feel at home. That’s what I value most about it.”

Top: Photo courtesy "DiverDave" via Creative Commons license; Middle and bottom: Photo by Abigail Boatwright

A Love of the Outdoors “The beauty of the landscape sets us apart,” Davenport says. “People are drawn to our open spaces and green spaces. It’s really important to us to protect all the horse farms, protect the green space and promote outdoor recreation by incorporating more trails and park systems.” The city has three parks in town and the massive playground of Lake Ray Roberts in its backyard. Ray Roberts Lake State Park offers 29,000 acres for fishing, swimming and boating, with a busy season from March to November. Outdoor adventurers have access to camping, geocaching and trails for equestrians, cyclists and hikers. A 20-mile Greenbelt Corridor runs all the way from the Ray Roberts Dame to Lake Lewisville. The lake’s Lone Star Lodge Resort and Marina offers overnight accommodations for your horse, with plenty of room for trailer parking. If you prefer to get out on the water, the marina offers boat, jet ski and kayak rentals. The facility is building a 500-slip marina with RV hookups and campgrounds. Once completed, Pilot Point will be even more of a destination for lakegoers. Tourism Sprouts a Few Surprises Driving in to Pilot Point, there’s no denying that this is authentic Texas horse country. Here, the horses in residence far outnumber the people with more than 25,000 equines and 300 ranches in the area. Want to go riding? Visit the Black Mustang Ranch for one- to four-hour trail rides, or bring your own sandwiches for a two-hour picnic ride. Trail riding and summer camps are offered by ranches such as Four Fillies Farm and Wilbanks Paints ‘n’ Pasos. Though one does not expect to find exotic animals roaming the North Texas landscape, that’s exactly what you’ll see on safari at the family-friendly Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch. Lemurs, camels, kangaroos, zebras and bears… oh my! Add tram and pony rides for the kids plus delicious pizza and pasta and you have a weekend destination worth putting on repeat. It’s open year-round on Saturdays

Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch is home to around 130 animals, including this endangered Père David’s deer. Visitors can also see zebras, alligators, lemurs, bears, bobcats and kangaroos.

“It’s quaint, historic Texas. We still have a lot of that charm and are working hard to protect it.”

Lowbrows Beer and Wine Garden downtown is a popular watering hole for locals, but as our photographer can attest, also very welcoming to curious passersby.

Maggie the unicorn greets visitors outside of The Magnolia Station II, a local spot known for its incredible barbecue and outdoor seating in a converted 1930s gas station.

and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. “We’re so lucky to have these amazing agricultural tourism businesses in the area,” Davenport says. She and Mayor Dane-Patterson encourage springtime visits to the seasonal Texas Tulips and Pecan Creek Strawberry Farm, where customers can pay a fee to pick their own or just wander around admiring and photographing the beautiful settings. Pointing the Way Since 1845 It might seem odd that a town called Pilot Point has no airport, but it’s worth your time to learn its fascinating history — which seems straight out of a Western movie full of adventure, cattle drives and wagon trains. According to the city’s website: “the town served as an anchor point on trails used by both Indians who initially settled the area, and eventually by settlers heading west. Centered between the historic Shawnee Trail and the Chisholm Trail, countless cattle drives crisscrossed this area as they made their dangerous trek northward to rail lines in Kansas and Missouri. Pilot Point derived its name because it was home to a densely wooded area located on the highest point of ground between Texarkana and Fort Worth, which allowed the stand of trees to be easily seen across the open prairie land and serve as a trail landmark — Pointing the Way.” Today, its historic buildings qualify it as a Texas Main Street City with many structures built in the mid- to late 1800s. The eight-block Pilot Point Commercial Historic District is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That charm is also a draw for the area. “Pilot Point is the oldest city in Denton County, and one of few that still has a downtown square,” Davenport says. “We’re working to renovate the downtown area and get in new businesses.” A recent purchase on the square for a new bed and breakfast business revealed that the building was constructed in 1865. And the Farmers & Merchants Bank (circa 1896) is now an art gallery and will evolve to include an artists-in-residency program in addition to gallery space.

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Bonnie and Clyde Were Here Well, at least in the form of actors Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. The Farmers & Merchants Bank building was used in the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde. Pilot Point schools were dismissed so the children could watch the filming. The town square is now home to the town’s annual Bonnie & Clyde Days event in October. “The celebration every year is a fun daylong event with a bank robbery re-enactment, a soapbox derby, food, drinks and live music,” Davenport explains. (The truth is that Bonnie and

Clyde never robbed the bank in Pilot Point. Bonnie Parker had family who lived outside of Pilot Point and they would visit from time to time.) The town’s cabinetmakers also enjoy creating designs and competing in the soapbox derby. Food, Drinks and Art Other must-sees in historic downtown include giant murals by local artist Justine Wollaston (including a horse country–themed painting just across the street from city hall that was finished






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Photo by Abigail Boatwright

A colorful mural on East Liberty transforms an ordinary brick wall into a work of art, welcoming visitors to the city and reminding them of its 164-year history.

this spring), and the Old West Coffee Company, which offers fried pies and a relaxing atmosphere alongside your favorite hot beverage. “There’s a dive bar called Lowbrows Beer and Wine Garden downtown; you never know who’s going to be there or what will be going on,” Davenport says. “It’s a fun place to stop where you’ll find the locals hanging out.” There’s much to see outside of downtown. Book early for the Western Son Distillery’s monthly concert series from March to November because shows often sell out. “It’s always a great time for families to come listen to music, enjoy a bite to eat from local food trucks and have a beverage,” Dane-Patterson says. Other popular destinations include Whistle Post Brewery, Magnolia Station (located in a 1920s gas station) and Buff’s Grill restaurants. There are a lot of great reasons why Mayor Dane-Patterson says, “My heart loves Pilot Point.”

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The Wharf Steak and Seafood


n many ways, the newly opened Wharf Steak and Seafood restaurant is like coming home for executive chef and owner Erin Miller. Located on picturesque Oak Street in historic downtown Roanoke, The Wharf reflects Miller’s Irish roots while giving a nod to her culinary beginnings at The Classic Café just down the street. Writing Her Own Story As a fourth-generation chef, Miller’s love of all things culinary runs in her blood. She opened The Wharf at the end


of March after most recently serving as executive chef at Texas Bleu Steakhouse in Keller. Prior to that, the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute–trained chef interned at The Classic Café and became its first ever sous chef. Miller had business partners at Texas Bleu, but after leaving, she knew she wanted to start her own restaurant — alone. “As a chef, you always want to do your own thing. It’s like being an author of a book. I don’t want to rewrite someone else’s book, and I don’t want to make other people’s recipes,” she says.

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Bottom photo by Wendy Angel; All other photos by Erin Miller

Fourth-Generation Chef de Cuisine Erin Miller opens one of Roanoke’s most anticipated new restaurants. BY WENDY ANGEL

An Inspiring Journey A six-week trip to Ireland — Miller is 97% Irish — proved inspirational. Her family still owns a restaurant in County Kerry, but the roots go deeper. Her great grandfather owned a tobacco shop, and while visiting the property, Miller spotted its exact location: next to a wharf. Suddenly, her fine dining brainchild had a name. When she returned home, Miller put pen to paper and simply let culinary thoughts flow. “You know how if you’re a painter and you have a canvas in front of you, and you start painting and don’t know what you’re doing and it just comes out? That’s how my process is.” But putting thoughts on paper means only thoughts; none of her recipes are written down. That means that she goes in each morning to prep all of her sauces, soups, dressings and such herself — all from scratch. While steaks are Miller’s specialty, the seafood options are special on a personal level as well, with many recipes native to Ireland. And the butter she uses? Kerrygold, from County Kerry, just like her family. Traditional Meets Modern The Wharf’s interior was also inspired by her Irish pilgrimage. The red tufted benches she saw throughout her trip were integrated into the décor. Ireland’s ubiquitous wooden barrels became light fixtures made from halved imported Guinness barrels with dangling Jameson Irish Whiskey bottles. “I didn’t know how it was going to turn out, but I am really pleased with how it did.” She designed everything herself, creating a clean and open atmosphere that provides an updated take on the traditional steakhouse décor, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows. It was important to Miller to be able to see everyone in the restaurant from the kitchen. “I want to be able to see your face when you eat my food. Sounds weird, but if you made me something, and I just walked off into another room, you’d say, ‘Wait, hold on, what did you think of it?’”

“I think Roanoke needed a place to call their own. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have nice things here.” Why Roanoke? For her, Oak Street in Roanoke was the perfect location for her new establishment. “The feel of that street reminds me so much of where my dad’s restaurant was in Austin. In Austin, it’s all quirky stuff, and it’s all different. If I had opened it up in Southlake, I don’t think it would have made it.” Since the opening, Miller has received a lot of feedback from customers who are happy to have a specialoccasion restaurant in their area. “I think Roanoke needed that. They need a place to call their own. It’s an affluent community. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have nice things here.” When she left The Classic Café, Miller recalls that dirt roads abounded, and she’s excited to be a part of the explosion of growth in Roanoke. Almost as excited, it seems, as she is about combining her passion for cooking with her Irish heritage. “When I was in Ireland, I felt like I was back home. Even though I wasn’t born in Ireland, my whole family is from there. I had a hard time leaving, I’m not going to lie.” But with The Wharf, Miller was able to bring a little piece of Ireland back with her — and Roanoke should be thankful she did. The Wharf Steak and Seafood 310 S. Oak Street, Roanoke, Texas. Online: www.thewharfsteakandseafood. com and Reservations: Use Open Table or call 682-237-2444 Price Point: $8 to $14 starters; $21 to $59 entrees

Standout Dishes

Surf and Turf

The Surf and Turf entrée has been The Wharf’s most popular dish. A Maine lobster tail is paired with a fire-grilled 22-ounce bone-in ribeye, with steamed broccolini to round out the plate.

Petite Filet Mignon

Since her time at Texas Bleu, Miller has been known for her steaks. Her secret? Using Certified Angus Beef. “I’ve had people stop me and come into the window and say, ‘I’ve never had a steak like that in all my life.’ The cattle I have is from its own ranch. So from the head of the cow to the tail of the cow, it’s all mine. It’s like butter.”

Lobster Bisque and Crab Cakes

For a rich, decadent soup course, try the lobster bisque. A creamy bisque base has notes of Cognac and is topped with tender lumps of juicy lobster. The spices are minimal to allow the fresh lobster to take the starring role. For a standout appetizer, don’t miss the crab cakes. “Our crab cakes are what got me on Top Chef in 2016,” says Miller.


If you’re a calamari fan, Miller’s take on it will please. The batter is substantial without being heavy, and the accompanying tangy-but-not-too-sweet marinara complements rather than overpowers the taste of the calamari. J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y


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These 13 unique things to love about Denton County can’t be found anywhere else. How many can you check off your list? BY PAULA FELPS

allas is the kind of city that seems to overshadow just about everything around it. After all, it has its own legendary football team (and even more legendary cheerleaders); there’s pro hockey and basketball, Neiman Marcus and an airport the size of Manhattan. It even had a hit television series named after it — twice! For years, Denton County has stood in the shadow of its louder, busier sibling, often overlooked by outsiders and sometimes taken for granted even by those who live here. But those who take the time to explore Denton County — whether as a visitor or a newcomer — are quickly rewarded. There’s a lot more to love about Denton County than most people realize; this mix of bucolic pastures and booming business boasts a more relaxed vibe and a cool, sometimes quirky blend of offerings that you’d never find in Dallas. The cities and towns that compose Denton County each bring their own rich history to the table, which is why they could only happen here. Here’s a look at 13 things that help make Denton County one of the best places in the world to call home.

highland village lions

Balloon Festival

There’s a lot of hot air in Texas in August, but for three decades, the Highland Village Lions HIGHLAND Club has made the most of it. VILLAGE The annual Highland Village Lions Balloon Festival is a three-day event that gives North Texas its best chance to enjoy hot air balloons, either as observers or as passengers. In the evenings, the festival includes a Balloon Glow, when pilots fire up their balloon burners to transform their balloon into a giant, magnificent light bulb — a sight that you won’t soon forget. Throughout the weekend, Unity Park on Briarhill Road provides the perfect setting for tethered balloon rides, balloon ascensions, fly-ins and takeoffs. Over the years, the event has grown far beyond balloons; there’s also a classic car show, a kids’ zone with a live petting zoo, live music and entertainment and, of course, food vendors. Part of the festival’s appeal is its local, accessible feel, says Emily Rohne, co-chair of the volunteer-run event. “People can walk in from their neighborhood, or drive in and park,” she says. “There’s really nothing more thrilling than seeing a field of hot air balloons inflated and glowing in the evening sky.” Photo by Michael Nguyen

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In 1949, Denton proudly opened one of the most state-of-the-art movie theaters in the Southwest. The Campus Theatre Movie-House — so named because owners wanted to cater to the “kids on campus” at then-North Texas State University and Texas Woman’s University — enjoyed several moments in the spotlight from the beginning. It welcomed major stars and even hosted the 1967 premiere of the movie Bonnie and Clyde. It was the place to be for Saturday morning picture shows and Saturday night dates. But the jewel in the city’s crown was eventually overshadowed by change, and in 1985, the lights were dimmed on the historic building. It sat empty until the early 1990s, when the Greater Denton Arts Council purchased it and made it a permanent home for its member arts organizations. In 1995, the renovated theater reopened, creating an updated version of the original theater while retaining the majesty of its original architecture. With the neon “Campus Theatre” sign and movie house marquee once again lighting up the Denton Square, it has not only given a home to groups such as Denton Community Theater, Denton Light Opera and the Denton Civic Ballet; it has also brought back to life the quaint appeal of walking into a movie house. Like the city itself, Campus Theatre has moved gracefully from its past to become a grand part of the future.


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heritage museum The town of Krum began as a railroad depot town in 1886, and most of that early history is lost, since very little of it was ever recorded. Today, the one thing historians know for certain is that the town was named after a railroad official named Charles K. Krum. To keep track of the history that has been painstakingly patched together by residents through the years, the Krum Heritage Museum opened in 2010 in the former Farmers and Merchants KRUM State Bank building, which was built in 1909. It’s a fitting site for such a wealth of history and makes the past feel right at home. Bringing to life a rich history that may have been overlooked had it not been for the Krum Society of Historic Preservation, the museum takes visitors back to a time that seems increasingly more distant as technology advances. “The kids love the typewriters and the 19th-century grand piano, but some of the old dolls scare them,” says Janice Callarman, a volunteer at the museum. Scary doll heads aside, the museum is a treasure trove of the city’s history, with old maps, cattle brands, a school room with an old school bell and a business room with memorabilia and ads from businesses that have long since disappeared. The Military Wall of Honor pays tribute to Krum soldiers who have died in battle. Part of the museum’s appeal is that it bridges the past, present and future, Callarman says. “Former Krum residents are reminded of the past and tell us interesting stories. Their current families like to see pictures of their relatives, parents, grandparents, cousins, etc.,” she adds. “And new residents come to learn the history and are amazed at what once was here.”

Campus Theatre photo by Benjamin Huttash

Campus theatre

The chairy Orchard

More than four decades ago, neighbors Judy Smith and Anne Pearson pooled DENTON their money to buy the empty lot between their homes. It made a wonderful playground for their growing children, but once the kids had moved on, the women decided to turn this green flood plain into a pocket park. What began as a single tree decorated by small chairs painted red — a chairy tree! — has grown into an entire Chairy Orchard. Smith and Pearson have collected chairs from thrift stores, garage sales, friends and even the side of the road to create Denton County’s cutest and quirkiest park. These days, people even bring chairs to the park, leaving them in the hands of new owners who will take good care of them. Once again, children come to play in the lot — this time running around and trying out the unique collection of chairs. There are benches, metal chairs, high chairs and even wheelchairs. The Chairy Orchard has become a place to unwind, take silly photos with friends or just step into an entirely different world. What began on a whim is now a popular place for parties, meetings and even the occasional wedding. And if you don’t quite “get” the appeal, pay it a visit and pull up a chair. Then you’ll understand.

Witherspoon Distillery photo by Blackall Photography

witherspoon Distillery

Talk about Texas spirit! Since 2012, Witherspoon Distillery has been making top-notch whiskey and rum. But last year, its owners opened a new 15,300-square-foot building in Old Town Lewisville, giving new life to the space that old-timers remember as the site of the Piggly Wiggly grocery store. Specializing in handcrafted barrel-aged whiskey made from local ingredients, Witherspoon serves up spirits that are made to be taken home with you, but the new distillery itself offers plenty of reasons to pay a visit. “Our tours are very popular,” says Natasha DeHart, co-founder of the distillery. “Those bring in a crowd every weekend, and we also offer free live music every weekend.” The most repeated phrase they hear is a variation of, “I had no idea anything like this existed here,” DeHart says. And, with a full range of craft cocktails, there’s something for everyone. “Our main focus is whiskey, but we make a full line of spirits for our tasting hall,” DeHart says. “We make our own

sodas, bitters, cordials and liqueurs, and we fresh-squeeze all citrus juices. A lot of love goes into each of our cocktails!” What’s not to love about that?


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Sky theater

The sky is not the limit at the on-site planetarium at the University of North Texas. Instead, the 100-seat Sky Theater featuring a 40-foot domed ceiling promises (and delivers) an out-of-this-world experience. Located in the Environmental DENTON Sciences Building on the UNT campus, Sky Theater is open to students and the general public alike. From a detailed, precise replication of the night sky to movies about astronomy, the theater helps visitors understand and experience the sky differently than they ever have before. Through this experience, it’s possible to visit different stars and planets in the solar system, take a breathtaking ride on a celestial roller coaster or even travel through electrons within an atom — all without ever leaving your seat. Thanks to vivid color and HD projections, the films live up to their goal of making viewers feel as if they are actually living the experience, not just watching it. In addition to being able to stargaze regardless of the time of day or how clear the sky is, the planetarium also holds a weekly screening of a star-related film.


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gnome Cones

Gnomes are enjoying a pop culture moment, but in Argyle, Alex Sparks and Bret Hawkins have turned that moment into a movement. ARGYLE With the opening of Gnome Cones last year, the lighthearted duo introduced a fanciful frozen treat that even trolls can’t help but love. The snow cone shack on Highway 377 is not your typical frozen treat stand. It looks entirely possible that it could be the actual home of garden gnomes. (Spoiler alert: It’s not.) Instead, it serves up all-natural snow cones free of dyes and preservatives with syrups made fresh daily. In addition to serving up their special brand of gnome-shaped snow cones, Sparks and Hawkins make sure visitors have plenty of reasons to stop. “We all dress like gnomes, we collect gnomes, and if you bring a gnome, you get a free cone,” Sparks says. “We love that we get to be a quirky part of the community.” And now, they’ve become part of summer tradition in Denton County. You might even say they’ve made quite a gnome for themselves.

roanoke Visitor Center & Museum It seems doubtful that when the Silver Spur Saloon kicked open its doors in 1886, its owners knew they had just created the perfect vault for Roanoke’s history. Back then, the dance hall and saloon — with an upstairs brothel — wasn’t ROANOKE exactly the family-friendly attraction it has become today. Despite its raucous roots, the beautiful rock building remained a focal point of Roanoke’s downtown, and in 2008, after an extreme makeover, it reopened as the Roanoke Visitor Center & Museum. “We have become the community’s story keepers,” says Stacey Lotz, museum manager. “But we’re also a portal to showing what Roanoke has to offer today.” One of the main attractions at the center is the steam engine whistle, which is a hands-on display that shows you don’t need technology to have an interactive exhibit. “The look on their faces after giving it the first pull is something that never gets old,” Lotz says. “Young or old, many times one pull is never enough.” And, whether you’re a newcomer to the area who wants to find out more about its history or a tourist passing through who wants to step back and time, this hidden gem is exactly what you’re looking for.

The flower Mound

The “true” story of The Flower Mound depends on which person you ask. Over the years, a great number of lore and legends about the origins of Texas’ most famous mound have been spun. Some say it is an old Indian burial ground; others claim it was built by an ancient culture. There’s never been any proof of those stories, so today, most people just stick with the known facts: The Flower Mound is a natural formation that rises about 50 feet above the surrounding area, and it gained its name from the proliferation of wildflowers growing on it.

The Flower Mound is, of course, where the town that grew up around it got its name, and it remains a prized, untouched piece of land FLOWER — even in the midst of growth and progress. MOUND It boasts more than 400 species of plants and flowers, including rare prairie grasses. Covering nearly 13 acres, the mound at the intersection of FM 3040 and FM 2499 is a constant touchstone to the past, even as the town continues moving into the future.

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The dime Store

This is not your mother’s dime store. The Denton Independent Maker Exchange, or DIME, is a collective of Denton County artists who all sell their wares under one roof. The five-year-old

Wildflower Art Studio

store grew out of a hope to stimulate the DENTON economy for local crafters and artists; until then, they had only come together to sell their goods at bi-annual markets under the name Etsy Denton. “We had seen how our community had supported our little group of makers,” says Shelly Christner, co-founder and manager of The DIME Store. “We had a hunch they would support a brick-and-mortar store… and we were right!” Today, The DIME Store continues to thrive and grow, giving local crafters both a community and a place to sell their goods. For shoppers, it brings together an assortment of handcrafted items, from jewelry and home décor to paper goods, fiber art and even toys and children’s items. Christner says that the store took on a life of its own from the very beginning, and five years into it, she remains delighted by the way it connects members of the community. “These walls have so many stories to tell of lives that have been changed and businesses that have been built,” she says. “That is the result of an amazing community of creatives and shoppers mutually encouraging and inspiring one another.”

If life is, indeed, art, then the Wildflower Art Studio is Denton County’s newest lifeline. Launched by sisters Emile Stewart and Bailey Jones in DENTON late 2017, the business grew out of Stewart’s need to house the successful calligraphy kits she sells by the thousands on Amazon. But what keeps a steady stream of visitors walking through the door are the workshops the sisters offer in the artsy space. “Our goal at Wildf lower Art Studio is that our students leave with the tools to continue on their own,” Stewart says. Those tools are provided through classes in calligraphy, watercolor, drawing and hand lettering; there are workshops for adults, classes for children and a welcoming vibe for all. Stewart is quick to point out that while students walk out the door with new skill sets and a beautiful new piece of art, Wildf lower is about much more than the end product. “Through the process of creating,” she says, “we learn to trust ourselves.”


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texas Tulips Tiny Tim could have spent hours tiptoeing PILOT POINT through this place. Peter Koeman grew up in Holland, and thanks to his parents' love of horticulture, he grew a variety of plants but eventually specialized in tulips. He sold tens of millions of tulips in his native country, and when Koeman moved to Texas, he wanted to keep that family tradition alive. “We loved what we saw and finally decided to set up our tulip company in Pilot Point,” he explains. “We found the perfect fusion of fertile soil, country charm, nice weather in the spring and gentle rolling hills. It also fulfilled our greatest wish: to be able to meet the people who buy our tulips!” Texas Tulips, at 10656 FM 2931, is home to a beautiful array of colorful tulips, and it gives those open fields of wildflowers a run for their money when it comes to photo opps. Spend a few hours here gazing at the many varieties and you’ll even see some unique tulips that you haven’t seen before. You also have the option to pick your own fresh tulips or buy some bulbs to grow your own. “Overall, it’s just a really fun experience and it showcases the beauty of life,” Koeman says. Although it’s closed for the 2018 season, you can still order tulip bulbs year-round from Texas Tulips — and be sure to mark your calendar for the 2019 season opening in February.


arts & jazz Festival Denton is synonymous with music, and nothing showcases that better than the DENTON annual Denton Arts and Jazz Festival. Fueled by the jazz program at the University of North Texas’ College of Music, Denton has a long, well-documented history of birthing top-notch musical talent, from Roy Orbison and Pat Boone to Norah Jones to Midlake. Every April, the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival serves up a powerful three-day musical reminder of the hotbed of musical talent that thrives in little d. With six outdoor stages, one indoor stage and dozens of roving musicians, the festival delivers a combination of imported big names, local music heroes and up-and-coming acts. To provide the arts portion of the festival, more than 250 arts and crafts vendors set up shop in Quakertown Park, and more than 200,000 people from Denton County and the surrounding areas make the trek to enjoy what has become one of the city’s hottest attractions. While there are plenty of other arts festivals throughout North Texas in the spring, this festival couldn’t happen anywhere else. It’s just that good. And it illustrates, in one single weekend, what Denton County is all about.

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HOLLYWOOD. Meet Kayla Olson, the barista-turned-author whose first novel is headed for the big screen. BY KRISTY ALPERT


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Kayla Photo Courtesy of Jared Rey


ess than a decade ago, Kayla Olson was most often recognized around town as the girl who made a superior iced caramel macchiato f rom her d rive-t hroug h window at the Loop 288 Starbucks in Denton. Now this former barista and University of North Texas graduate is most often mentioned in association with Leonardo DiCaprio. Her first novel, The Sandcastle Empire, is being made into a major motion picture produced by DiCaprio and Paramount Pictures. Olson has come a long way since her days writing customers' names on to-go cups of coffee. Today she is set to release her second highly anticipated novel, This Splintered Silence, in November with HarperTeen. Although Olson is now known around the world — her debut novel has been translated into 13 languages — she can still be found hanging around Denton. These days,

the only writing she does in coffee shops is on her next novel; she leaves the to-go cup writing to the pros behind the counter. We sat down with Olson to get the inside scoop on her favorite haunts around Denton and to hear about the people, places and pets that have inspired her journey from barista to Hollywood-bound book author. Where are you from originally? I grew up in Mason, Texas, but I’m currently living in Denton with my husband, my son and my two cats.


every day.

What inspired you to write The Sandcastle Empire? I was a stay-at-home-mom when I wrote the first draft. Our little guy was 2 to 3 years old, and we lived in Austin at the time. [The inspiration for my first book] was a combination of missing two things and wanting to revisit them in my head: my favorite TV show (LOST ) and my favorite beach (Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay). Castaway Cay is an island owned by Disney, and we had visited there a few years before. I was seriously craving a vacation!

Did your family encourage you to pursue a career in writing? My husband has been incredibly supportive of all my creative endeavors since long before I ever mentioned a desire to write. My commitment to writing was much easier to fit into my day before we had our son. After he was born, my husband was so wonderful to help me carve out time to write. He also never put pressure or expectations on me. He supported me doing it because it was something I loved, even in the years before there was ever anything to show for all of my hard work, and even though it took a lot of time and commitment from us both to make it happen. What was it like going from being a barista to a popular author in talks with Hollywood? It was wonderful! [Laughs] It was hard, of course — it was a long, winding, bumpy road between my Starbucks days and that phone call where the film deal first came into the picture. But yes, it was completely surreal and exciting. I think baristas do such valuable work — they have the power to affect someone’s day for better or worse, and they have to juggle five things at once and be fast at it, and friendly — but when I was working the Starbucks drive-through at the Loop 288 store, as much as I loved my job and my coworkers, I didn’t feel creatively fulfilled. When I finally decided to try my hand at writing, everything just clicked. It felt very natural to me, even though I had a ton to learn. I set off on that path and put one foot in front of the other, over and over every day, and then one day I looked up and my agents were telling me the unbelievable news that Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, Appian Way, was interested in my book. It was strange in the best way, and rewarding. I’ve done it all along because I loved the work of it, and it was the most wonderful feeling to know that all my hard work would become a real, actual book, let alone possibly a film, too. I’m grateful for everything. That’s such an inspirational story! So let’s be real: When do you get to meet DiCaprio? Wouldn’t that be amazing?! The honest truth is, I don’t know. My literary agents like to say, “The only thing that moves

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lacking in experience. They have reason to believe their generation is immune from the virus until one of their own turns up dead. As tensions rise, the six are stretched to their limits in every way, trying to keep the station, and themselves, alive.

slower than publishing is film,” and so far, I’ve found that to be true. I’m not allowed to share any updates on the film until they share them first — but I wish I could! You lived in Denton through college and for your first years of marriage, but now that you’re back in the city as an author and mom, are there any new places in Denton County that inspire you? There are three Denton places I frequent because I love them and because I love the people who work there. Seven Mile Cafe, West Oak Coffee and Soma Massage. These have yet to show up in my work in any noticeable way, but they make me a healthier, happier person whenever I visit each place, so I think they do influence my work in a way that isn’t quite so obvious. Your new book This Splintered Silence comes out November 13. What can people expect

from your second novel? This Splintered Silence is another survival story — but not related at all to The Sandcastle Empire — and this time it’s a mystery set in space… well, set on a space station more specifically. It’s about the shifting dynamics in a tight-knit group of friends after a virus wipes out all of their parents. The six of them step up to lead the surviving population, but are woefully

Where else can we find you? Online! If anyone out there would like to connect on social media, Instagram is my favorite. You can find me at @authorkaylaolson. Also, for those in and around Denton, you can usually find signed copies of The Sandcastle Empire on the shelves at our local Barnes & Noble. And if you happen to find one that isn’t signed, contact me on my website and I’m sure I could find a way to sign it for you! For more information on Kayla Olson and her novels The Sandcastle Empire and This Splintered Silence, as well as event info, fun facts about the author and other relevant news, along with lots of resources for writers and readers, visit

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It takes hundreds of people to bring Denton County’s largest event to life. Meet some of the organizers, rodeo queens and clowns, livestock judges and cowboys who make it happen.

Photo by Todd Brewer


riving north along the I-35 corridor from Dallas or Fort Worth, it’s hard to tell just where the metroplex ends. Skyscrapers give way to strip malls and medical centers, and erstwhile farms have been transformed into gated communities and car dealerships. Pockets of undeveloped land still exist all the way up to Denton, but only on the north side of Highway 380 does the landscape begin to resemble cowboy country. While DFW’s urban sprawl continues its outward expansion, hundreds of volunteers and thousands of visitors at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo hold fast to the western heritage for which Texas is known. “We’re very steeped in tradition and our roots of family and community,” says Nanci Monroe Kimmey, executive assistant for the North Texas State Fair Association (NTSFA) and co-author of North Texas State Fair and Rodeo. Originally started as late-summer horse races in 1885, the annual North Texas Fair and Rodeo has evolved into one of the largest events of its kind in Texas and has run continuously since 1949. Today, the festivities attract more than 150,000 visitors to the 22-acre fairgrounds at the juncture of US-380 and US-77 in Denton. The fair offers nine days of carnival rides, rodeo contests, beauty pageants, art displays, fried food and livestock shows. Then, there are the live music performances, which are free with general admission. Past performers include some of the most recognizable names in country music: Randy Rogers Band, the Charlie Daniels Band, Travis Tritt and LeAnn Rimes, who was 13 when she first took the stage at the North Texas Fairgrounds. This year’s lineup likewise features several of the best country acts in the state, including the Eli Young Band, the Josh Abbott Band and singers Cody Johnson and Tracy Byrd. More than the funnel cakes, concerts and midway games, however, the annual happening is about bringing people together. “Being our 90th year, we wanted to go more patriotic,” says Jacee Kiefer, marketing and media manager for the NTSFA, referencing the red, white and blue motif for the late summer event, which runs from August 17–25. In a part of the country where hard work and family values are held in high regard, the organizers are highlighting the ideals that residents of local communities still hold dear. That means “Respecting the flag. Removing your cowboy hat. Respect of the cowboy traditions and the cowboy way,” Kiefer says. Family Ties Kiefer, a blue-eyed Denton native, is one of only three full-time employees of the association, working alongside Kimmey and Executive Director Glenn Carlton to bring the annual event to life. The trio is helped by nearly 800 volunteers, with duties spread across three dozen committees. Kiefer has a long history with the North Texas Fair and Rodeo, beginning at age 9 when she first began showing cattle in the livestock competitions. The tradition was carried on by her son, who showed from age 6 until he graduated from Sanger High School. Last year, her 4-year-old daughter stepped into the ring for the first time, showing a miniature Hereford. J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y


“The main thing is just to get them exposed and to have fun,” says Kiefer of the livestock competitions for younger children. The focus, she says, is less on earning a ribbon at that age, and more about the excitement of getting in the ring. As participants get older and take on more responsibility, they learn about teamwork, discipline and respect for their competitors — “a big thing nowadays,” according to Kiefer. Her parents, Bobby and Judy Jones, chair the livestock committee, which, at 90 members, is one of the largest groups each year. The committee is broken into more than a dozen sub-committees

The History of the

North Texas

Fair & Rodeo 58

D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

that clean and prepare the show arenas, manage logistics for exhibitors and judge eight days of shows for animals big and small. Despite the rapid pace of development in north Texas, participation in the livestock contests has grown steadily in recent years. Judy Jones says, “All these kids come from out of town. We’ve had them come from Lubbock, from El Paso, from Oklahoma.” Animals on Parade After Doug Satree and his family relocated from Nebraska to the Lone Star state in the early 1990s, his daughter grew up showing

Less than 30 years after Denton’s founding, a group of local ranchers gathered with their horses along a 40-acre tract adjacent to what today is the University of North Texas (UNT) campus. The two-day horse-racing event sponsored by the Denton County Fair and Blooded Stock Association (DCFBSA) was the earliest predecessor to the North Texas Fair and Rodeo. Since then, the fair has stopped and started and ultimately grown into a nine-day extravaganza with activities for all ages. Here is a brief look at the evolution of Denton County’s most notable happening:

Photo by Abigail Boatwright

The North Texas State Fair and Rodeo is brought to life by more than 800 volunteers but only three full-time employees: (left to right) Executive Assistant Nanci Monroe Kimmey, Marketing and Media Manager Jacee Kiefer and Executive Director Glenn Carlton.

Top photo by Jack Bonewell

cattle at the North Texas Fair. One evening, Bobby Jones asked Doug to lend a hand with the livestock contests, and he has been helping ever since, for nearly 30 years. “I’ll be judging breeding heifers at this show,” says Satree, who raises registered Angus on his ranch. The children and teens participating in this year’s livestock contests will bring with them some 1,300 pigs, lambs, sheep, goats and cattle, each lovingly raised and carefully selected for showing. During the Junior Heifer contest, three judges will examine the young cows against numerous criteria, from the size and proportion of the shoulders, neck and hips to the depth of the body and shape of the ribs. “Structural soundness is a big thing when they walk into the ring, right off the bat,” says Satree, who is a strong proponent of Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H programs. “Showing livestock is a great way for kids to grow and develop and mature — to accept responsibility,” he says. Although exhibitors spend time at the fairground pens, carefully grooming and prepping their animals to enter the arena, the hard work happens long before the contest begins. “We always say, shows aren’t won in the ring, they’re won at home,” Satree quips. Contestants devote months caring for their cows, sheep, and swine, feeding, watering and bathing the animals, mucking the stalls and making sure they get daily exercise. For Satree, seeing the payoff for those efforts is one of the most gratifying parts of judging the livestock contests. “They’re really appreciative that they won a show, and that their diligence and their work at home was rewarded that day,” he says. Hoofs and Horns Sammy Andrews, stock contractor and owner of Andrews Rodeo, Inc., spends much of the year traveling across the country with prize-winning bulls that are bred to take on any cowboy in the ring. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) circuit takes him from Florida to Wyoming, although the bigger events are mostly in Texas. He has been working with the North Texas Fair and Rodeo for three decades and enjoys its unique format. “A lot of people say, ‘If you’ve seen one rodeo, you’ve seen them all,’” says Andrews, who began his career in the 1960s. “That’s not true to start with, but in Denton, you’ve got different varieties to come see.” The fair opens with a three-night PRCA rodeo, which includes everything from bareback riding to calf roping, steer wrestling,



Stock contractor Sammy Andrews has been bringing his prize-winning bulls and horses to the North Texas Fair and Rodeo for three decades. He shuttles the animals to and from his ranch on the Red River.

Livestock judge Doug Satree has also been part of the Denton event for 30 years. This year, he is judging breeding heifers, looking at structural soundness, proportion and other criteria to crown a winner.



The DCFBSA hosts two days of

The slowly expanding fair

Texas legislators enact a law

The Denton County Fair is held

running and trotting horse races

features rabbit races, horse races

against gambling, shutting down

in Sanger and later moves to an

in northwest Denton. The event

and a stock show. The following

the fair for more than a decade.

airfield in Carroll Park. By 1920,

continues annually for 10 years.

year, organizers add exhibits

the event included carnival rides,

of ladies’ artwork, cooking and

sideshows and livestock contests.

horticulture skills.

J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y


Veteran rodeo clown Rudy Burns has broken his ankle and taken bull horns to the face and spine during his long career. At age 69, he limits his schedule to 30 rodeos a year.

“They don’t want you to

GET KILLED, BANGED UP.” but they want you to get

– Rudy Burns, Rodeo Clown

barrel racing and bull riding. Monday night is the Invitational Ranch Rodeo, with cowboys from local ranches competing in a series of team events, like sorting and bronc riding. The rest of the week offers a veritable buffet of entertainment for the western enthusiast, including a 21-and-Under Rodeo, Bull Blowout and Cowboy Protection Match. In the midst of it all are the ever-popular Mutton Bustin’ competitions, where little cowpokes ages 3 to



7 get their first taste of a bucking bull by saddling up on a sheep. For Andrews, a veteran stock contractor, the nine-day event is a series of trips to shuttle cowboys, horses and cattle back and forth from his ranch on the Red River to the Denton fairgrounds. “It’ll take about three semi loads and a gooseneck load to do the pro rodeo,” says Andrews, in a thick Texas accent that evokes images of herding steer across the open plains. Three days later, his crew



The annual event relocates to

The fair moves to Exposition

Philanthropist Dr. W.C. Kimbrough

The Denton County Rodeo Asso-

City Park and the following year

Street and continues to expand

sells 22 acres to the Denton

ciation sponsors its first rodeo at

is billed as the Denton County

until the start of World War II.

County Agricultural Fair Associa-

the Denton County Fairgrounds.

tion for $5 to establish the North

The North Texas State Fair

Texas Fairgrounds, where the

Association (NTSFA) bought the

event still is held today.

rodeo in 1964.

Agricultural and Livestock Fair.


D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

will bring the animals home and load in the horses and bulls for the junior rodeo, then they’ll make a third round-trip for the bull-riding competitions. “We raise all our own bucking stock,” notes Andrews, who gained worldwide notoriety as the owner of Bodacious, the 1,800-pound bovine named the Professional Bull Riders’ champion in 1995. Many of the bulls he brings to rodeos today are from the same bloodline as Bodacious, and the North Texas Fair is yet another opportunity for Andrews to showcase his prized livestock. “It’s like watching your kids perform, whenever your animals perform really well. It makes you feel like you did something right,” he says. Duck and Cover Rodeo clown Rudy Burns brings those performances in the ring to life, entertaining the crowds and distracting the bulls to protect riders from injury. After starting as a bullfighter and bull rider in his late teens, he spent much of his career as a barrelman. “As you get older and wiser, you figure out that it’s a lot safer in the barrel than it is on the ground,” says Burns with a chuckle. “I was voted Barrelman of the Year twice. I worked the Durango bullfights for seven years. Everything I’ve ever wanted to do in rodeo, I’ve done,” he adds. These days, 69-year-old Burns limits his schedule to 30 rodeos each year and prefers the role of rodeo clown. “I like to make people laugh,” he says. Part comedian, part bodyguard, Burns works tirelessly in the ring to give onlookers their money’s worth. Like Andrews, he is especially fond of the North Texas Fair and Rodeo because of the diverse events. “It’s not the same grind every night, and it’s a lot of fun,” he says. Preparations for each day’s events begin in front of the mirror. “The clown makeup changes you,” muses Burns. “It’s like a little funny button pushed on you. Then you go to thinking about what you’re going to do and how you’re going to go about doing it.” Clowning demands as much mental fortitude as it does physical endurance, and like any part of rodeo, it’s not for the faint of heart. Getting injured isn’t a matter of if… but when. Burns has taken a bull’s horn to the face and spine, and has broken his ankle. But the bumps and bruises come with the territory, and the danger is what drives audiences to turn out in droves. “They don’t want you to get killed, but they want you to get banged up,” he says, chuckling.



Caroline Macha, who has been competing in pageants since the age of 11, is the reigning North Texas Fair and Rodeo Queen. She considers herself an ambassador for the rodeo and association.

Crowning Glory Besides the thrills in the arena, rodeos are known for their pageantry, and the North Texas Fair doesn’t disappoint. In addition to a traditional beauty pageant with six divisions, from toddlers to teens, the event includes a Rodeo Queen Contest, which takes place over three days during the fair’s opening weekend. “A Rodeo Queen Contest includes horsemanship,” explains committee chair Gayla Bolin, who took the title of North Texas Fair and Rodeo Queen in 1992. Contestants are judged on how well they handle and ride a horse, following a specific pattern, and on their speaking and modeling abilities, she explains. The winner receives a $2,000 scholarship, trophy buckle, leather chaps and a



Fair operations transfer to the

Thirteen-year-old LeAnn Rimes

A study from UNT reveals that

The North Texas Fair and Rodeo

NTSFA, which, in 1989, also

performs at the fair before

the annual fair has a $6 million

breaks attendance records with

achieves Professional Rodeo

winning a Grammy the next year.

economic impact on Denton

more than 175,000 visitors, and

County. The same year, the NTSFA

the NTSFA purchases 109 acres in

wins its first Texas Association of

north Denton for a proposed new

Fairs & Events Best Overall Award

fairgrounds and rodeo.

Cowboys Association sanctioning.

of Excellence.

J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y


The current rodeo royalty pose together with their sashes and gold star hat bands: (Left to right) Rodeo Queen Caroline Macha, Teen Queen Grace Minter, Princess Cheyan Bland and Junior Princess Jaci Jo Lucy.

“When you’re in the business

OF MAKING MEMORIES, EVERY DAY.” it makes you smile

– Nanci Monroe Kimmey

prestigious crown to wear on her cowboy hat. During her reign, she is expected to do a community service project and to appear at events, including the grand entry at other PRCA rodeos. “We’re like the ambassador for the rodeo and the association we’re representing,” says Caroline Macha, the reigning North Texas Fair and Rodeo Queen. “You have to study the ins and outs of rodeo. The judges want to see what you know,” she says. Macha started riding horses as a young girl and competing in rodeo pageants soon thereafter. “I won my first title when I was 11 and fell in love with it,” she recounts. After placing first runner up in Miss Rodeo Texas Teen a few years back, Macha took a break from the rodeo queen world during her first year of college. Although she planned a longer hiatus, she missed participating in pageants, and last summer, she made a quick decision to compete for 2017 North Texas Fair and Rodeo Queen. “I grew up doing it and I thought it was something I could live without, and I learned really fast it’s something I cannot live without,” she says with a laugh. Being crowned Rodeo Queen has not only afforded Macha the opportunity to travel around the state, representing the North Texas State Fair Association at other events, but has also prepared


D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

The busy event organizers (Kiefer, Kimmey and Carlton) take a break from their desks.

her for life. “I’ve learned to communicate better with others and to be patient with people and consider other peoples’ points of view,” says Macha, who is a member of the equestrian team at North Central Texas College and plans to pursue a career in early childhood education. The experience has been as humbling as it has enlightening. Her speech during last year’s competition focused on what it takes to be a rodeo queen. “It’s really hard to do alone. I had my best friend with me the whole week I was running. There’s someone making your rodeo queen clothes, there’s someone helping you with your horse, there’s someone helping you study,” she says, adding, “It takes a village.”

Photo by Todd Brewer

Bull riding is rodeo’s most popular — and dangerous — event. Most animals weigh between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds. This year’s Bull Blowout takes place from August 23 to 25 at the Miller Lite Rodeo Arena.

Preserving Tradition With the end of August fast approaching, the fairgrounds soon will be a flurry of activity, and the people behind the North Texas Fair and Rodeo hope to welcome crowds of newcomers to the renowned event. “It’s been the best kept secret for years in north Texas,” says Sammy Andrews, with a chuckle. “What you get for the bang for your buck is unbelievable. You can go to a rodeo, see a concert, have a beverage, eat everything, look at the livestock and all the exhibits, and it’s right there in the middle of downtown Denton.” Of course, no sooner will the gates open for the 2018 fair than the organizers will start putting the wheels in motion for next year’s event. Schedules will need to be drawn up and committee

chairs assigned. Sponsors will be sent letters of thanks and an invitation to continue their support of the event. And in January, the fair’s three-person staff will travel to the Texas Association of Fairs & Events annual convention to showcase musical acts for the 2019 season. Although coordinating nine days of family-friendly activities and entertainment is a never-ending cycle, the dedicated volunteers and leadership team are grateful to do their part year after year. “It gets in your blood, and everybody has a vested interest,” Kimmey says of the decades-old event that has touched generations. “When you’re in the business of making memories, it makes you smile every day.” J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y



NOISE Get to know a few of the women who are making sure Denton County remains a destination for music lovers. BY KIMBERLY TURNER


fter several beloved music venues closed in 2016 (Rubber Gloves, the basement at J&J’s Pizza and Hailey’s), many worried about the state of Denton’s lively independent music scene. Fortunately, art and music are resilient. Bands continued to support one another. UNT’s renowned music program kept drawing new artists into the area. House shows popped up. Other venues hosted events. And most importantly, artists continued making music. Meet four of them…


D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8



feel like I just gave birth,” says a giddy Jessie Frye on the day her new single, “Faded Memor y” featuring Timecop1983, is released. “It’s surreal to see it out after I’ve been working on it for half a year.” Her excitement is justified. The ’80s-inspired synthpop tune is pure ear candy, and some of Frye’s best work to date. And that’s saying something about an artist who has won awards for Best Pop Act every year since 2015, opened for Beck and has an email signature featuring a press quote calling her “Texas’ sultry pop princess.” Yet pop is only part of what Frye does. Her song “Big Bad Wolf ” is essentially a ’90s grunge song. Her live shows are high-energy rock ’n roll with dash of grittiness because, as she says, “we need more of that from women.” “I feel really grateful that I’m forming a fan base that accepts or loves whatever type of song I put out because they know it’s from my heart,” she says. “Putting out content that makes people feel connected to me as an artist, that’s what really matters at the end of the day.” Though her debut EP came out in 2008, Frye has been creating music her whole life, putting on concerts for family at Christmas as a child before starting professional vocal lessons at the age of 8 and piano lessons at 12. After dropping out of college to pursue a career in music, she submitted a demo to perform at South by Southwest in 2009. “I did not expect an answer back,” she says, “and I got an invitation to showcase. I’d never played a show before and thought, ‘I’d better get a band together.’” That is not to say the artist enjoyed overnight success. “For years, I played to nobody,” she recalls. “We didn’t make money at shows. We would play to three or four people and make 20 bucks, sometimes not even that. I think every band should go through that struggle, should feel like, ‘Wow, I don’t know if I can do this,’ because that moment is so important to build your character.”


When she finally started selling out shows, it was in her hometown of Denton. “Denton has helped me grow my career,” she says. “It’s really tight-knit, but there’s also room for everyone to be successful, which is what I really like about Denton.” Her career truly took off after the Greater Denton Arts Council asked her to play a Bernie Sanders rally in town. That led to her opening up for the candidate during his Dallas visit — a 10,000-person gig she says “not only changed my career, but also changed my life.” Today, Frye is gearing up to write a new PledgeMusic-funded record produced by collaborator Matt Aslanian (“kind of the other half of Jessie Frye”), who also worked with her on first full-length album, 2014’s Obsidian, and her Boys Club EP. But first, she’ll take a moment to enjoy the success of “Faded Memory.” FIND HER ONLINE:, @jessiefryemusic on Instagram, @jessiefrye on Twitter, jessiefryeband on Facebook, jessiefrye on Soundcloud

J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y




.S.–born Costa Rican-Ecuadorian jazz vocalist and composer Isabel Crespo lives in Denton, but when she spoke with us, the busy musician was in Delaware, between rehearsals. She was one of only 15 students selected for the prestigious Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency. Crespo has been or is part of several bands including Los Mosaicos, Family Tree, Passarinho, Grown Curious and Both of Us. She has received scholarships for numerous jazz workshops around the world, and has worked with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Arthur Barrow, Jo Lawry, and Danilo Perez, Theo Bleckmann, Aaron Parks, Matt Mitchell, Ben Wendel and Joe Sanders. In other words, there is no shortage of accomplishments to discuss with her, but we focused our time on For Now, her quintet and current main project. The group released its debut album, Elsewhere, in May and is due to set off on a Kickstarter-funded national tour this summer. “I had a larger ensemble a few years before and wanted to write for a quintet specifically,” she says. “So I started writing some material and once I had enough, I picked the group and we started working on the songs.” The group consists of Skyler Hill on guitar, Ben McDonald on keys, Mike Luzecky on bass and Jonny Harmon on drums — all of whom are skilled musicians in their own right. Crespo composed all 11 of the album’s tracks, which blend thought-provoking lyrics with intricate melodies. “Instead of telling you a story, I would prefer to describe an experience in a way that immerses you in it, so you are feeling it with me, if that makes sense. I have gotten a lot of comments from people that they are feeling this album in that way, that it envelops them in this other world, and that’s really nice.”


INSTEAD OF TELLING YOU A STORY, I WOULD PREFER TO DESCRIBE AN EXPERIENCE IN A WAY THAT IMMERSES YOU IN IT... To aid in that immersion, she created a collage for each song on the album. “They’re meant to visually guide the listener and give them another layer of the piece. I am very influenced by visual art.” Crespo describes the album as “creative modern jazz,” but it also embraces other genres. “The jazz that we play is mixed with rock. There’s definitely kind of a songwriter influence as well. I take a lot of time to craft the lyrics, and I take a lot of care in making sure that the whole song supports the message, but there’s also a lot of improvisation,

D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

FIND FOR NOW ONLINE:,, on Instagram, fornowproject on Facebook

and there’s counterpoint, which is a little bit of a classical music influence.” She appreciates the artistic and musical community in Denton County and says, “It’s the people who really make the place. Denton has an amazing artistic community in general. There are a lot of people really eager to learn and try new things and explore. As a jazz musician, I appreciate that people here are super open to support each other and play shows, even if it’s not for monetary gain. They’re just really excited about playing music.”


he four members of Pearl Earl are crammed in a van together, along with all of their equipment, traveling to New Orleans through a thunderstorm. It is the band’s fourth national tour and the circumstances would be enough to make some people grumpy, but Pearl Earl’s easy-going vibe is not easily disturbed. They giggle and banter and repeat themselves over the sound of heavy rain pelting the windshield. “Touring is the fun-est part of being in a band,” says Ariel Hartley, lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter of the group. “You just get to focus on being in a band and playing music, meeting people. It’s like being on a directed vacation.” It helps to be on that directed vacation with friends. “I met Chelsea [Danielle, keyboardist] in a sweat lodge!” says Hartley. “Who knew that five years later, we would be in a band?”

The other two members — Bailey Chapman on drums and Stefanie Lazcano on bass — got acquainted in more straightforward ways, at UNT and through Denton’s music scene. Together, the all-female group creates psychedelic rock inspired by the Australian music scene and classic rock of the ’60s. Asking the band to describe their own sound yields some fascinating descriptions ranging from “The Beatles meets the Powerpuff Girls” and “Pink Floyd in the sunlight” to “wizard rock.” “I think our classic rock beats and basslines kind of make our music familiar to a lot of different generations,” says Lazcano. “It bridges the generational gap. A lot of older audiences like the stuff we’re doing because it kind of takes them back to a different time.” Once the band finishes touring the U.S.,

FIND THEM ONLINE:, @pearlearlmusic on Instagram and Twitter, PearlEarlMusic on Facebook, Pearl Earl on bandcamp

they will get to work on a new album. “We have two songs that we’ve already recorded,” says Hartley, “I have the blueprint — the structures and songs in mind — and we’ve worked on about four of the 10 or 11 songs we’ll need. We’ve got two singles, but we’re kind of holding on to those to see if maybe we can get a label to pick us up and help us fund it.”

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J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y








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lik e to m ak e stuff. It’s my f avor ite t h i n g ,” s ay s C l a i re Morales. That must be why she never stops. She started playing her acoustic, singer-songwriter tunes in North Texas coffee shops at the age of 13 and had a critically acclaimed debut album by 2015 (Amaranthine). Later that year, she started a collaborative covers project with other Denton County artists — including Pearl Earl — describing the covers as “a fun, quick way to work together with local musicians, get inspired and stay busy between releases.” That same year (yes, really), she wrote, recorded and released a Halloween-themed LP with Daniel Markham in just one month. They had a blast making the album, so they did another album the following year. In 2017, Morales released a five-song EP for a collaboration with Jena Pyle. The project, called the Saudade Sisters, toured the Pacific Northwest later that year. This year, she was part of the Elk River Sessions, which brought 20 Denton area artists together to create an album from start to finish in three days along with a documentary about the process. She released a brand new album, All That Wanting, on June 29 of this year and is embarking on

D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

FIND HER ONLINE:, @clairemoralesmusic on Instagram, ClaireMoralesMusic on Facebook, claire-morales on Soundcloud

a national tour. She’s making costumes for the videos for the album, as well as the videos themselves. Oh, and she has a day job as a designer and has “another album pretty much written.” Most people would get exhausted just reading about it all. “I feel like design school taught me that you have to find inspiration when you need it and not wait for it. I think people just put too much pressure on being struck by inspiration. It’s like Nike: Just do it,” she laughs. All That Wanting feels different from her previous work. For starters, she has a band — Ryan Williams on bass, Russ Connell on drums and Alex Hastings on lead guitar — and they have influenced the sound. “It feels a lot more rock and roll and a lot more cohesive,” says Morales. “We [the band] developed the sound together and it had time to marinate and evolve, so that’s a bit different. I think they’re thematically different too. I always think of Amarantine as a coming-of-age album. This one is more adult. It’s about desire and how it motivates you through your life and how it can be creative and inspiring but also kind of destructive if you let it.” “Denton is a great place to be creative,” she adds. “It’s a good town to get the peace you need to make things. It’s contemplative. It’s weird living here as a kid and then growing up and experiencing the city, but I feel like it’s the kind of town you can grow with. It’s comforting and nice for a kid, but also a place that’s really creatively stimulating.”


Open for Business


xciting businesses are always opening in our growing county. Welcome these new businesses to our community by paying them a visit.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 3220 Town Center Tr., Denton, 940-220-4900. This exciting addition to Denton County’s entertainment options features both new and classic films, a full menu and bar, reclining seats for up to 880 guests, surround sound, laser projection and regular special events. Armadillo Ale Works, 221 Bell Ave., Denton, 940-580-4446. Denton’s award-winning brewers have finally opened the doors on their new craft brewery! These hometown beer heroes say, “We love Denton and want our beers to represent that.” Cryptozoology, 221 Bell Ave., Denton, 972-922-7726. Sharing a space with Armadillo Ale Works, this new coffee shop is a popular new daytime hang-out for local espresso aficionados. ChopShop Live, 309 S. Oak St., Roanoke. Country musician Randy Rogers joined forces with restaurateurs Josh Babb and Sean Clavir of Rock Libations to open this combination restaurant and 22,000-square-foot, indoor/outdoor live music venue for up to 1,500 patrons. Hive Bakery, 360 Parker Square, Flower Mound, 972-316-7625. This “artistic bakery,” which recently moved from owner Haley Popp’s home to its own space, specializes in made-from-scratch custom cakes and desserts. The edible works of art are almost too pretty to eat… almost. MasterCraft, 8600 US-377, Pilot Point, 940-324-6015. This boat showroom relocated to Aubrey/Pilot Point from Lewisville in March and specializes in new and used MasterCraft boats ranging from $70,000 to $200,000. The location also offers a full service center and parts department as well as lake-call service. Flower Mound Speech Therapy, 4961 Long Prarie Road, Suite 110, Flower Mound, 469-458-7764. This new speech therapy facility offers speech, feeding and myofunctional therapy for children struggling to meet milestones and adults regaining skills after an injury or illness. The Painted Tree Marketplace, 2240 Justin Road, Highland Village. The fourth location of this vintage market brings together more than 200 local artisans, crafts-people, boutiques and vendors in the 38,200-square-foot space formerly occupied by Kroger. It will also offer crafting and art workshops and classes. J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y




uring the next five years, Denton County’s economic growth is expected to be the strongest of any county in the entire nation, according to Oxford Economics. So developers are keen to build here. Several mixed-use developments are in the works around Denton County. Some, like Denton’s massive Razor Ranch, are well on their way. That project has already completed residences, a hotel, convention center and multiple commercial and retail spaces. Others, such as Flower Mound’s Southgate and River Walk at Central Park developments, have been in the works for years. Even though these large projects take time to come to fruition, there’s no time like the present to take a look at what the bulldozers and excavators are up to in your neighborhood. Here’s a just-the-facts rundown of four developments in progress…

The Point

Where is it? Flower Mound, at FM2499 and Silveron Boulevard in the Lakeside Business District How big is it? 34.55 acres Has it been approved? Yes, on December 21. It is expected to break ground this fall. What’s going in? uu 585 residential units (300 apartments in the first phase) including some ground-floor units that can later be converted into small retail spaces or offices uu A 100-room Hilton Tru hotel uu Two office buildings with


215,000 square feet of office space uu Several green spaces including the 3.1-acre Point Park, 1.10-acre space known as The Green, a 0.6-acre space with a “pleasant overlook area to the retention pond” (per the city ordinance) and an 8-foot-wide multipurpose trail along the FM 2499 frontage uu Carriage houses Who’s in charge? Direct Development is leading the way with Trammell Crow

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What will it do for Flower Mound? According to developer Direct Development, the development will add about 1,000 jobs and grow the tax base by $150 million.


Where is it? Argyle at the corner of FM 407 and Hwy. 377 How big is it? 105 acres plus a recently approved 5-acre addition Has it been approved? The project was approved in 2016 and is already underway. What’s going in? uu 287 residential lots uu 191,000 square feet of commercial and retail uu Water features, scenic vistas, amphitheater, hiking and biking trails and roughly 10 acres of preserved open space uu The newly approved 5-acre addition will offer three

homes and 4 acres of commercial space uu The development will be anchored by a grocery store uu A public park called the Argyle Green due to be completed this fall Who’s in charge? TerraManna is the developer. MESA developed the master plan. CalAtlantic Homes is the homebuilder. When will it be completed? Move-ins are expected to start in late 2018 or early 2019. Retail and other residential may take four to five additional years.

Millennium Place

Where is it? Corinth, I-35E and Dobbs Road How big is it? 24.19 acres Has it been approved? Yes, it broke ground in October. What’s going in? uu 228 residential units with

a rooftop lounge, 24-hour fitness facility uu 70,000-square-foot hotel with approximately 90 rooms uu 8,500-square-foot conference center

The Point photo courtesy of LandDesign; Waterbrook photo courtesy of MESA; Millennium Place photo courtesy of G&A Consultants

What’s going on with all this new mixed use?

Residential as the principal partner. Architect JHP designed the rental units. LandDesign is handling site planning and landscape architecture.

23,200 square feet of office space uu 62,250 square feet of restaurant and retail space uu Dog park, green spaces with picnic areas, access to walking trails Who’s in charge? Lakeview Parkway Partners is the devuu

eloper. Site planning, civil engineering and landscape architecture by G&A Consultants. When will it be finished? The entire project is expected to be completed in 2024, but pre-leasing is expected to begin this fall with move-ins early next year.

Photo courtesy of Bright Realty

The Realm at Castle Hills

Where is it? Lewisville, south of State Highway 121 and Sam Rayburn Tollway (part of the 2,600-acre Castle Hills development) How big is it? 324 acres Has it been approved? Yes, it broke ground on June 12. What’s going in? During Phase 1, The Offices at The Realm: uu A nine-story Class AA office building with 239,000 square feet of office space with a conference center, rooftop deck seating, computer bars and a fitness center uu Crescent Park, an expansive park and outdoor entertainment space with event space, a water feature and water shows, a splash fountain for children and pets and more uu 15,000 square feet of first-floor restaurant space with second-floor terraces overlooking Crescent Park During Phase 2 (already started): uu A 260-unit multi-family complex above 35,000

square feet of boutique-style retail space Who’s in charge? Bright Realty is the developer. (Bright is also responsible for several completed Castle Hill projects including Discovery at The Realm, a 423-unit luxury apartment community; the single-family rental community called Cottages at The Realm; a private golf course and country club known as The Lakes at Castle Hills; and the Castle Hills Village Shops entertainment and shopping district.) They are working with architect BOKA Powell, design architect and interior designer 505 Design, landscape architect Land Design and general contractor Hill & Wilkinson. Colliers International will oversee office space leasing and Bright Realty is managing the brokerage of the retail/ restaurant space. When will it be finished? Phase 1 will be completed mid 2019, while Phase 2 has a delivery date of mid- to late-2020.

LET US GET YOU THERE The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) provides modern public transportation and mobility options that connect riders with the needs of their day. With fixed-route and on-demand bus service, the A-train commuter rail line and the A-train Rail Trail, DCTA offers a variety of convenient, efficient and sustainable mobility solutions for riders connecting to destinations within Denton and Collin counties.



SHUTTLES • 940.243.0077 • #RideDCTA

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Best of Denton



very year, Denton R ecord-Chronicle readers head to to vote for their favorite local businesses. This year’s poll allowed residents to weigh in on everything from healthcare providers and grooming services to restaurants and entertainment. Here are the winners of the Denton Record-Chronicle’s 25th annual Readers’ Choice Awards. POOL TABLES

Winner: JR Pockets Runner-Up: Dusty’s Bar & Grill Honorable Mention: RT’s Neighborhood Bar



Winner: James Wood Autopark Runner-Up: Bill Utter Ford Honorable Mention: Classic of Denton


Winner: James Wood Autopark Runner-Up: Bill Utter Ford Honorable Mention: Classic of Denton


Winner: Kwik Kar Runner-Up: The Sticker Station Honorable Mention: North Texas Sticker Station


Bars & Nightlife BAR

Winner: East Side Denton Runner-Up: Harvest House Honorable Mention: Oak St Drafthouse and Cocktail Parlor


Winner: East Side Denton Runner-Up: Oak St Drafthouse and Cocktail Parlor Honorable Mention: Harvest House



Winner: Kwik Kar Runner-Up: James Wood Autopark Honorable Mention: Jon’s EZ Lube


Winner: James Wood Autopark Runner-Up: Caliber Collision Honorable Mention: Gene’s Paint & Body Shop


Winner: B & O Towing Runner-Up: Akers Towing Honorable Mention: Ron’s Wrecker Service


Winner: Wine Squared Runner-Up: Steve’s Wine Bar Honorable Mention: Hannah’s Off The Square

Winner: East Side Denton Runner-Up: Oak St Drafthouse and Cocktail Parlor Honorable Mention: Paschall Bar





Winner: James Wood Autopark Runner-Up: Tommy’s Hi-Tech Auto Repair Honorable Mention: Kwik Kar Winner: The Wash Factory Runner-Up: Prestige Wash & Detail Honorable Mention: Kwik Kar

Winner: East Side Denton Runner-Up: Buffalo Wild Wings Honorable Mention: RT’s Neighboorhood Bar

Winner: Paschall Bar Runner-Up: 940’s Kitchen & Cocktails Honorable Mention: East Side Denton Winner: Chuy’s Runner-Up: East Side Denton Honorable Mention: Oak St Drafthouse and Cocktail Parlor


Winner: Crossroads Cocktails and Karaoke Runner-Up: The Abbey Underground Honorable Mention: Andy’s Bar


Winner: Dan’s Silverleaf Runner-Up: Harvest House Honorable Mention: LSA Burger Co.


Winner: East Side Denton Runner-Up: Harvest House Honorable Mention: LSA Burger Co.

D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

Denton Life & Fun CHILD CARE

Winner: First United Methodist Church (Children’s Day Out / FunStop) Runner-Up: North Star Academy of Lantana Honorable Mention: First Baptist Child Development Center



Winner: The Bearded Lady Runners-Up: Campus Barber Shop and Northside Barber Shop


Winner: Salon LaPage Runner-Up: Davanti Salon and Spa Honorable Mention: Denton Color Lab

MASSAGE CENTER / SPA Winner: Soma Massage Therapy Runner-Up: Essentials Day Spa Honorable Mention: Massage on the Square


Winner: PJ’s Party Rental and Essentials Runner-Up: Joe’s Jumps Honorable Mention: Card My Yard Denton


Winner: Altitude Trampoline Park Runner-Up: Denton Parks and Recreation - Water Works Park & Natatorium Honorable Mention: Achievers Gymnastics Center


Winner: Arts & Jazz Festival Runner-Up: Denton Community Market Honorable Mention: Denton’s Day of The Dead Festival


Winner: Bella Salon & Spa Runner-Up: Deluxe Nails & Spa Honorable Mention: Envy Nail Spa

Winner: A Time to Dance Studio Runner-Up: Denton Ballet Academy Honorable Mention: Denton Dance Conservatory



Winner: Studio One16 Runner-Up: Wildflower Esthetics Honorable Mention: Laser Loft


Winner: Palm Beach Tan Runner-Up: Tantrum Airbrush Tanning, LLC. Honorable Mention: Planet Tan

Winner: Achievers Gymnastics Center Runner-Up: Denton Gymnastics Academy Honorable Mention: Thunder Extreme Athletics


Winner: Planet Fitness Runner-Up: North Lakes Recreation Center Honorable Mention: Denton Jazzercize


Winner: Denton Community Theatre Runner-Up: Music Theatre of Denton Honorable Mention: UNT Dance & Theatre


Winner: Reding Martial Arts Runner-Up: Denton Taekwondo Academy Honorable Mention: Aikido of Denton


Winner: Denton Movie Tavern Runner-Up: Cinemark Honorable Mention: AMC Classic Hickory Creek



Winner: Mr. Chopsticks Runner-Up: Komodo Loco Honorable Mention: Andaman Thai Restaurant





Winner: Boca 31 Runner-Up: Komodo Loco Honorable Mention: Keiichi Japanese Restaurant


Winner: Oldwest Cafe Runner-Up: Seven Mile Cafe Honorable Mention: Cartwright’s Ranch House




RECREATIONAL VEHICLES & EQUIPMENT Winner: Cycle Center of Denton Runner-Up: McClain’s RV Superstore Honorable Mention: Camping World


Winner: TWU’s Little Chapel in the Woods Runner-Up: Red Barn Events Honorable Mention: Wildwood Inn


Winner: Twisted Bodies Runner-Up: Denton Yoga Center Honorable Mention: be. Women’s Health & Wellness

Winner: Buffet King Runner-Up: Chinatown Cafe Honorable Mention: Double Dave’s Winner: Hannah’s Off The Square Runner-Up: Barley & Board Honorable Mention: Greenhouse Restaurant & Bar


Winner: El Matador Restaurant Runner-Up: Frosty’s Honorable Mention: Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

Winner: The Pickled Carrot Runner-Up: Dumpling Brothers Honorable Mention: The Waffle Wagon


Winner: Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda Fountain Runner-Up: Yogurt Story Honorable Mention: Yogurt Bliss


Winner: LSA Burger Co. Runner-Up: Denton County Independent Hamburger Honorable Mention: Mr. Frosty’s


Winner: Babe’s Chicken Dinner House Runner-Up: Cartwright’s Ranch House Honorable Mention: Rooster’s Roadhouse



Winner: The Chestnut Tree Runner-Up: Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q Honorable Mention: Metzler’s


Winner: Jupiter House Coffee Runner-Up: Zera Coffee Company Honorable Mention: West Oak Coffee Bar


Winner: New York Sub-Hub Runner-Up: Weinberger’s Sandwich Shop Honorable Mention: New York Sub-Way


Winner: Hypnotic Donuts Runner-Up: Denton Donuts, 505 W. University Dr. Honorable Mention: The Back Dough


Winner: Everyday Nectar Runner-Up: Juice Lab Honorable Mention: Smoothie King


Winner: Texas Roadhouse Runner-Up: Queenie’s Steakhouse Honorable Mention: Outback Steakhouse


Winner: I love Sushi Runner-Up: Keiichi Japanese Restaurant Honorable Mention: Komodo Loco


Winner: Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Runner-Up: Boca31 Honorable Mention: Rusty Taco


Winner: Spiral Diner Runner-Up: Cupboard Natural Foods & Cafe Honorable Mention: Seven Mile Cafe


Winner: Wingstop Runner-Up: Buffalo Wild Wings Honorable Mention: BoomerJack’s Grill & Bar


Winner: Guiseppe’s Italian Resturant Runner-Up: Luigi’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant Honorable Mention: Don Camillo Italian Cuisine



Winner: Hannah’s Off The Square Runner-Up: Barley & Board Honorable Mention: Queenie’s Steakhouse

Winner: Candy Haven Runner-Up: Atomic Candy Honorable Mention: Du Pop In Popcorn & Candy Co.

Winner: Ravelin Bakery Runner-Up: Nothing Bundt Cakes Honorable Mention: Candy Haven


Winner: LSA Burger Co. Runner-Up: Barley & Board Honorable Mention: Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda Fountain

Winner: Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q Runner-Up: Bet The House BBQ Honorable Mention: Rooster’s Roadhouse

Winner: SCRAP Denton Runner-Up: Painting With a Twist Honorable Mention: Wildflower Art Studio

Winner: Bonduris Music Runner-Up: The Ghost Note Honorable Mention: Denton Music Workshop


Winner: El Matador Restaurant Runner-Up: Villa Grande Mexican Restaurant Honorable Mention: Mazatlan Restaurant


Winner: Hannah’s Off The Square Runner-Up: Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant Honorable Mention: Queenie’s Steakhouse


Winner: Spiral Diner & Bakery Runner-Up: Lakeside Craft Kitchen Honorable Mention: Egg House Cafe


Winner: Mellow Mushroom Runner-Up: J&J’s Pizza Honorable Mention: Pizza Snob


Winner: Hoochie’s Oyster House Runner-Up: Frilly’s Seafood Bayou Kitchen Honorable Mention: Red Lobster


Winner: Smitty’s Floor Covering Runner-Up: The Design House (formerly Carpets Plus) Honorable Mention: CW Floors & Lighting


Winner: Denton County Carpet Cleaning Runner-Up: O’Bryan’s Carpet Cleaning, Inc. Honorable Mention: Champion Carpet Cleaning


Winner: Maid in America Runner-Up: Molly Maid Honorable Mention: Maryson’s Cleaning Services


Winner: Denton Electric, Inc. Runner-Up: C & G Electric, Inc. Honorable Mention: Bunger Electric

J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y






Winner: J&J Fencing Pros LLC Runner-Up: Texas Roof & Fence Honorable Mention: Denton Fence Company

Winner: Work Environmental Runner-Up: Strittmatter Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, Inc. Honorable Mention: BCI Mechanical, Inc.

Winner: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton Runner-Up: Medical City Denton Honorable Mention: Minor Emergency of Denton


Winner: Adams Furniture Runner-Up: Ruth’s Room Honorable Mention: Garden Gate

Winner: North Texas Allergy & Asthma Center Runner-Up: Family Allergy and Asthma Care Honorable Mention: North Texas ENT and Allergy




Winner: Irwin Construction Runner-Up: The Design House (formerly Carpets Plus) Honorable Mention: TriStar Repair & Construction


Winner: Frenchy’s Lawn and Tree Service Runner-Up: Meador Nursery Honorable Mention: Denton Lawn Sprinkler, Inc.


Winner: Calloway’s Nursery Runner-Up: Meador Nursery Honorable Mention: Dennis’ Farm Store


Winner: Good Samaritan Society Denton Village Runner-Up: Willow Bend Assisted Living & Memory Care Honorable Mention: Good Samaritan Society - Lake Forest Village

CHIROPRACTOR / CLINIC Winner: Spinal Decompression & Chiropractor Center Runner-Up: Advanced Relief Honorable Mention: DeHart Chiropractic


Winner: Baird Family Dental Runner-Up: Leatherwood Family & Cosmetic Dentistry Honorable Mention: Gaylen Fickey, DDS

Winner: Strittmatter Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Runner-Up: AM Plumbing Honorable Mention: BCI Mechanical, Inc.




Winner: Gohlke Pools Runner-Up: Brakefield’s Pool Service Honorable Mention: Larsen Pools, LLC


Winner: Denton Trinity Roofing Runner-Up: TriStar Quality Roofing Honorable Mention: Strittmatter Air Conditioning, Heating, Plumbing & Roofing


Winner: Longhorn Solar Screens Runner-Up: Carol’s Custom Draperies Honorable Mention: Stonemeyer Granite


Winner: Iron Guard Storage Runner-Up: Bell Avenue Self Storage Honorable Mention: Golden Triangle Storage


Winner: Total Eyecare Runner-Up: Advanced Eye Care Center Honorable Mention: Eye Care of Denton

Winner: Timothy McGuire, MD Runner-Up: Your Healthcare Place Honorable Mention: The Family Doctors


Winner: Denton Hearing Health Runner-Up: Connect Hearing Honorable Mention: Livingston Audiology


Winner: Visiting Angels Runner-Up: Living Well Senior Care Honorable Mention: Accolade Home Care & Hospice


Winner: Accolade Home Care & Hospice Runner-Up: Heaven at Home Care Honorable Mention: First Choice Home Health

D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

Winner: The Village Assisted Living and Memory Care Runner-Up: Willow Bend Assisted Living and Memory Care Honorable Mention: Autumn Leaves Denton


Winner: Caring for Women Runner-Up: be. Women’s Health & Wellness Honorable Mention: The Women’s Centre


Winner: Principal Spine & Pain Consultants - Arpan Desai, DO Runner-Up: Texas Partners In Pain Management Honorable Mention: Premier Pain Care


Winner: Cook Children’s Pediatrics South Denton (Teasley) Runner-Up: Cook Children’s Pediatrics - North Denton (Scripture St.) Honorable Mention: Cook Children’s Pediatrics - I-35 (inside Presby)


Winner: Community Pharmacy Runner-Up: Drug Emporium Honorable Mention: S&J Pharmacy & Gifts



Winner: CMC Dog Training Runner-Up: Windsong Kennels Honorable Mention: Lucky Dog Ranch


Winner: Beau’s Bath House and Doggie Spa Runner-Up: Pampered Pooch Honorable Mention: Fish n’ Chirps Pet Center


Winner: Linda McNatt Animal Care & Adoptions | Denton Animal Support Foundation Runner-Up: Denton Humane Society Honorable Mention: Ranch Hand Rescue


Winner: CMC Dog Training Runner-Up: Paula’s Canine Academy Honorable Mention: On The Ball K9 Training LLC


Winner: South Denton Animal Hospital Runners-Up: Denton Veterinary Center and Southridge Animal Hospital

Winner: D & D Sports Med Runner-Up: Velocity Physical Therapy Honorable Mention: Denton Sports & Physical Therapy Center


Winner: Good Samaritan Society Denton Village Runner-Up: Good Samaritan Society Lake Forest Honorable Mention: Dogwood Estates


Winner: Good Samaritan - Denton Village Runner-Up: Denton Rehabilitation Honorable Mention: Good Samaritan Lake Forest Village


Winner: Urban Square at Unicorn Lake Runner-Up: Woodlands of Denton Apartments Honorable Mention: Coronado North Apartments


Winner: Scott Brown Commercial Runner-Up: Keller Williams Realty Honorable Mention: McKissack Realty Group


Winner: Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation Runner-Up: DATCU Mortgage Honorable Mention: Independent Bank Mortgage


Winner: Little Guys Movers, Inc. Runner-Up: Brown Box Movers Honorable Mention: Duryea Moving & Storage


Winner: Chrissy Mallouf, Keller Williams Runner-Up: Tiffany Bachman, Keller Williams Realty Honorable Mention: Brad McKissack, McKissack Realty Group


Winner: Keller Williams Realty Runner-Up: Carrico and Associates Real Estate Honorable Mention: Real T Team


Winner: McKissack Realty Group Runner-Up: Real Estate by Design, Keller Williams Honorable Mention: Real T Team


Winner: McKissack Realty Runner-Up: KAZ Surveying Honorable Mention: Real Estate by Design, Keller Williams


Winner: Title Resources Runner-Up: Freedom Title Honorable Mention: Laughlin Law and Title


Winner: Techvera (formerly Geek on Wheels) Runner-Up: Local Circuit Honorable Mention: University Computers

ATTORNEY / LAW FIRM Winner: Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant, LLP Runner-Up: Leigh Hilton Honorable Mention: Minor & Jester, P.C.


Winner: Shawn Cagle-City Hall Bail Bonds Runner-Up: Webb’s Statewide Bail Bonds Honorable Mention: A-AA Bail Bonds


Winner: DATCU Runner-Up: AccessBank Honorable Mention: PointBank


Winner: Old Irish Bed & Breakfast Runner-Up: The Heritage Inns Honorable Mention: Horse Country Lodge Bed & Breakfast, Pilot Point

Winner: Groggy Dog Sportswear Runner-Up: Pan Ector Industries Honorable Mention: AlphaGraphics

Winner: Markys Dry Cleaners (formerly Comet Cleaners) Runner-Up: Zenith Dry Cleaners Honorable Mention: Denton Cleaners (Formerly known as Best 1 Hour Cleaners)



Winner: Atomic Candy Runner-Up: Rose Costumes Honorable Mention: Day’s Hardware


Winner: Denton Second Hand Sports Runner-Up: Denton Bicycle Center Honorable Mention: Sprockets Bicycle and Coffee Shop




Winner: Recycled Books Runner-Up: Atomic Candy Honorable Mention: Downtown Mini Mall I and II

Winner: 5 Star Rental Runner-Up: PJ’s Party Rental and Essentials Honorable Mention: C&Js Party Rentals and Entertainment


Winner: Downtown Mini Mall I and II Runner-Up: Shop the Barn Honorable Mention: Vintage Bleu Home





Winner: Edward Jones - Financial Advisor Kyle A. Nayfa Runner-Up: Soulier Advisory Honorable Mention: Grunden Financial Advisory, Inc.


Winner: Denton Florist Runner-Up: Flowergarden118 Honorable Mention: Holly’s Gardens and Florist


Winner: VNA Ann’s Haven Runner-Up: Accolade Home Care and Hospice Honorable Mention: VITAS Healthcare




Winner: Embassy Suites by Hilton Denton Convention Center Runner-Up: BEST WESTERN PREMIER Crown Chase Inn & Suites Honorable Mention: Hilton Garden Inn


Winner: Ramey King Insurance Runner-Up: Wade Hunt, Nationwide Honorable Mention: Tim Shoopman, State Farm Insurance Agent


Winner: Total Wine & More Runner-Up: Midway Mart Honorable Mention: The Bearded Monk


Winner: Recycled Books Runner-Up: Barnes & Noble Honorable Mention: Mardel Christian & Education


Winners: La Di Da and Palm Tree Boutique Honorable Mention: J.T. Clothiers


Winner: Sleeping Lizzards Runner-Up: DIME Store Honorable Mention: Garden Gate


Winner: Downtown Mini Mall I and II Runner-Up: Rose Costumes Honorable Mention: Vintage Bleu Home


Winner: Foster’s Western Wear & Saddle Shop Runner-Up: Cavender’s Boot City Honorable Mention: Boot Barn Western Wear


Winner: Total Wine and More Runner-Up: Wine Squared Honorable Mention: Metzler’s

Winner: First People’s Jewelers Runner-Up: Nasr Bros Jewelers Honorable Mention: Sleeping Lizzards



Winner: Cooper’s Copies & Printing Runner-Up: AlphaGraphics Honorable Mention: Impress Graphics





Winner: Vaporescence Runner-Up: Denton Vape Shoppe Honorable Mention: Vape ‘N Vapor

Winner: Cupboard Natural Foods and Cafe Runner-Up: Sprouts Honorable Mention: Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage

Winner: Adams Exterminating Co. Runner-Up: A Smart Pest Control Honorable Mention: Affordable Pest Control

Winner: Kayla Carmack Photography Runner-Up: Jillian Zamora Photography Honorable Mention: Brandon Jones Photography

Winner: Twice as Nice Resale Runner-Up: Thrift Giant Honorable Mention: Denton Thrift

Winner: Total Wine & More Runner-Up: Applejack’s Liquor Store Honorable Mention: Midway Mart

Winner: Recycled Books Runner-Up: More Fun Comics and Games Honorable Mention: Freaks & Geeks


Winner: Twice as Nice Resale Runner-Up: SCRAP Denton Honorable Mention: Denton Thrift

J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y



Denton Community Market

When: Saturdays Through November, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Where: 317 W. Mulberry St., Denton With vendors such as Charming Farm in Corinth, Crazy Feather’s Farm in Sanger, Misty Moon Farms in Argyle, Beaty Farms in Aubrey and Oliver’s Gardens in Lake Dallas, this popular farmer’s market truly

showcases the best local producers that our county has to offer. The eightyear-old event also hosts local artists, performers, food vendors and artisans selling products such as soap, jewelry, stained glass, gift items, breads and more — all created within a 100-mile radius of Denton. Come enjoy what your North Texas neighbors produce!

Aaron Copeland and Bart Crow

Denton Community Market

When: July 21, 6:15 p.m. Where: Aubrey Festival Grounds Aubrey has been holding its free Music in the Park events since 2010. During the summer months, the Keep Aubrey Beautiful Committee helps to bring some of the

Aaron Copeland

most talented artists in Texas to town. In July, bring a cooler and a chair or blanket to enjoy some Texas country music under the stars. Aaron Copeland was part of the Casey Donahew Band for six years before joining Sam Riggs and the Night People and then going solo. Bart Crow has had six No. 1 singles on the Texas Music Chart and was named one of Rolling Stone’s “Artists You Need to Know.”


Volunteer and Donate to Help Our Mission • Children’s Emergency Shelter and Residential Cottages • Single Parent Family Program • Community Counseling

Ricky & Susie Schertz

Healing There Is


Kris Schertz

Schertz Insurance Agency


D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8


Tiffany Schertz Cooper


1213 Primrose Lane # 102 Denton, TX 76201 Office: (940) 891-4803 Fax: (940)380-0425

(940)382-5112 | 909 Greenlee St. • Denton, TX

The Wizard of Oz

Brewery Yoga

Brewery Yoga

When: Every Friday at 10 a.m. Where: Denton County Brewing Company, 200 E. McKinney St., Denton Karma Yoga Denton brings local yogis together with small local businesses to spread the ommmmm and stretchiness to all of Denton County. They cater to all

levels of skill and even provide mats you can borrow for free. On Friday mornings, they serve up zen and kombucha from darGling kombucha tea in McKinney (always on the tap wall). If you’re an “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” believer, stick around after class. Denton County Brewing Company’s tap room opens at 11 a.m. with new craft beers every week.

When: August 10–12, 16–19 (tickets on sale now) Where: Campus Theatre, 214 West Hickory, Denton With a goal of contributing to the cultural life of the community through theatrical experiences, the Denton Community Theater (DCT) presents more than a dozen productions throughout the year. In August, DCT brings the motion picture classic The Wizard of Oz to life in a colorful and adventurous stage version directed by Mildred Peveto with musical direction by Jett Cheek. Tickets are available at and range from $22 for adults to $10 for children 12 and under.

The Most Unique Store You Will Find Anywhere • Clothes • Gifts • Shoes • Boots • • Jewelry • Home Decor •

SPORTS BLOCKS by Jeremy Hutcherson 160 Colleges, Pro Teams and Armed Services

208 NORTH 4TH STREET • SANGER • NEXT TO BABE’S 940-458-1942 J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 D E N T O N CO U N T Y




Evenings on Oak Street

When: July 12, August 9 and 16, September 6 and 20 Where: Austin Street Plaza, Roanoke The Evenings on Oak Street series brings a variety of musical acts to historic downtown Roanoke’s beautiful plaza area. Bring the family out with some chairs or a blanket to enjoy tunes, fresh air and good company. On July 12, Hazard Country (Texas country and Southern rock music) will perform. August 9: Timeless. August 16: Me & My Monkey (Beatles tribute band). September 6: Whitehouse Harmony (bluegrass). September 20: Zack King (rock & roll).

Star Party

When: The first Saturday of every month Where: Rafes Urban Astronomy Center, 2350 Tom Cole Rd. Denton, Texas Star light, star bright, see all of the stars

at night like you’ve never seen them before at the Rafes Urban Astronomy Center’s monthly Star Parties. Learn about the night sky from UNT’s knowledgeable staff and astronomy students then look through powerful telescopes to view objects in space! All of this is just $5 per person or $9 for a Sky Theater/Star Party combo ticket. The RUAC is one of the first of its kind in a major U.S. metropolitan area. (Please check for weather-related cancellations prior to attending.)

Drink Me Concert Series

When: Saturdays, now through September 8 Where: Rabbit Hole Brewing, 608 Topeka Avenue, Justin If you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy the talents of some Texas musicians and beer makers, Rabbit Hole Brewing in Justin

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has you covered. Come out on Saturdays at 6 p.m. to meet the friendly staff and taste their brews. Music under the stars starts around 8 p.m. Featured artists include Wild Card, Greg Luce, Audry Oliver, Zuriel Merek, Atomic Silver Band, The Martin Brothers, Bobby Duncan and Devin Leigh.

Lake Grapevine Fireworks Cruise

When: Fridays in July and August, 8 p.m. Where: Sam’s Dock Twin Coves Marina, 4500 Murrell Park Road, Flower Mound Looking to add a little sparkle to your night? This two-hour cruise sets sail every Friday during July and August at 8 p.m. A fireworks display by the city of Grapevine kicks off at 9:15. The cruise, which holds fewer than 40 people, is BYOB (small coolers and alcohol are permitted) and snacks and costs $25 for adults and $12 for kids 12 and under. If you’re a landlubber but still want to catch

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the fireworks, head to Rockledge Park (which has an entrance fee but the best views), Lakeview Park or Oak Grove Park.

Photo courtesy "ConalGallagher" via Creative Commons license

Smart Phone Photography Class

When: July 22, 9 a.m. Where: 2817 Goodnight Trail, Corinth Unflattering selfies, blurry action shots of the kids’ sports games and underwhelming vacation photos got you down? Fear not! Miranda Longoria Photography can teach you how to use the phone you’ve got in your pocket right now (you know you do) to take professional-quality photos. The $40 class includes a workbook and recommended apps for taking and editing photos on your phone. Visit facebook. com/mirandalongoriaphoto/events to purchase tickets and confirm the location (classes are sometimes held on location so participants can wander and get hands-on photo experience).

Arts & Autos Extravaganza

When: September 8, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Where: 110 W. Hickory Street, Denton Join more than 10,000 of your Denton County neighbors for this fun annual event presented by the Denton Main Street Association. See stunning hot rods, classic cars, custom trucks and

even motorcycles… but don’t forget the “arts” part of the day! Fine arts and crafts vendors, hands-on arts and crafts and live music will wow you while Chalk Fest competitors transform the sidewalks on the 200 block of West Oak Street into art. Head to to find out how to be part of the festival with either your car or chalk masterpiece.

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940.947.5383 | 4451 FM 2181, #105/ Corinth, TX 76210 D E N T O N CO U N T Y J U LY/AU G U S T 2 0 1 8

o you ever wonder who “Justin” is? Or what Ponder is pondering? Let’s find out. Justin was known as Denton Creek Settlement, Trail Creek Settlement, The Icarian Settlement and New Icara before finally landing on its current moniker. And sure, “Justin” rolls off the tongue much more easily than “Trail Creek Settlement,” but that’s not why it was chosen. The name honored Ohio-based Walter Justin (W.J.) Sherman, a railroad construction engineer who helped put 300 miles of railroad track in North Texas in just 300 days. The town of Justin was an important stop on the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway, and Sherman was, according to a historical marker erected in 2014, “one of the men responsible for the railroad coming through Justin.” The name became official on January 25, 1887 — although it was initially misspelled as “Justine” — and by 1896, the growing town had a population of 100 as well as a grocer, hotel, cotton gin and general store. Ponder, on the other hand, always had a punchy name… even if its original designation, “Gerald,” does sound more like someone’s uncle than a town. “Gerald” would have stuck had it not been for the fact that when the townspeople went to register their post office, they were told that a Gerald post office already existed in Texas. (That other Gerald was located on Farm Road 308 near Elm Creek. Its population peaked at 300 in the 1890s, and today, only the church and cemetery remain.) With Option A off the table, the town was named after W.A. Ponder, a wealthy landowner and banker from Denton. He also helped to establish the North Texas Normal College (now UNT) and the College of Industrial Arts (Texas Women’s University).


THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS 15 THE global university in your backyard. Ranked a T ier One research university with 68 programs named in the nation's top 100 and an athletics program that has won 127 conference championships, UNT has established a legacy of excellence. With thousands


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