The Town of Denton wasn't about to let a good thing go away.
When the local chamber of commerce five years ago elected not to continue its annual street festival, an event that attracts thousands of people to Denton every year, town hall decided to pick up the slack.
That decision has proven to be a good one.
On Sept. 14, the Denton Street Festival returns for the 20th time, bringing with it a plethora of family fun and entertainment to a quaint town in southern Davidson County.
"We just felt like it needed to continue," said Denton Town Clerk Genie Russell. "it's a good street festival and we wanted to continue it on."
According to Mayor Scott Morris, the event's popularity is growing. In the past two years, the town has secured enough sponsorship and space to hold the event without any cost to taxpayers. The street festival brings in approximately 4,000 people to Denton.
"We feel like it's a good event for Denton," Morris said. "It brings a lot of people to town. It let’s people know where we are and it helps out the local businesses. We want to showcase Denton and bring more people into town to see what we have to offer."
This year's festival, which runs from 9 a.m to 3 p.m., offers a wide array of activities for people of all ages. Starting at Harrison Park, the event will encompass two city blocks with dozens of vendors.
Local acts will take the stage at 9 a.m. followed by Eric and Chiltones at noon.
Special guest Barney Fife (impersonated by Scott Epperson) will provide plenty of entertainment as he runs from the North Carolina Zoo’s traveling dinosaur — a moving, snarling, animatronic Deinonychus on the loose (at least in the bed of a Chevrolet pickup).
It’s OK. Barney is prepared.
“I got a bullet,” said Epperson in Barney character. “I got one shot. I can wing it. I’ll get its attention.”
If that doesn’t work, Barney promises to turn his body into a deadly weapon.
Festival-goers may enjoy more than the antics of Barney. The event includes pony rides, inflatables and bungee jumping, as well as a car show organized by the Denton Merchants Association.
Closet archaeologists may hunt for gems in Huck’s Lost Mine and the N.C. Highway Patrol will educate the public about their “Don't Text and Drive" initiative.
"We've got a lot going on," said Morris. "Hopefully, they'll have a good time that day and come back another time and visit our restaurants and some of our local shops.
"No one puts something like this on themselves,” added Morris. “It takes a lot of teamwork and it’s been really successful."
The Denton Street Festival is sponsored by Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center, Century Hosiery, First Bank and Construction Implement, Inc.