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The engine of a big rig sits on display during the Arts & Autos Extravaganza Sept. 8, 2018, in downtown Denton.

In June, Denton Main Street Association pulled the plug on Arts & Autos, an annual downtown party and car show.

But later, the association decided there was a different way to celebrate the event — and it didn’t mean taking it online.

“We start to plan for Arts & Autos every February,” said John Cartwright, president of the association and owner of Cartwright’s restaurant. “Once COVID hit, we kind of put it on the back burner. We had Zoom meetings in April and May. In June, we called it off. But we kept meeting and talking about things. How can we let people know that Main Street is still doing things? You can still come downtown and have fun. So we had a brainstorm session in one of our Zoom meetings, and the idea of a cruise came up.”

Why not gather the cars, trucks and motorcycles and then have a sort of parade?

“We talked about going up to Pilot Point, or Aubrey. We knew that the city had guidelines for a step-off point, for social distancing. But it was something we could do,” Cartwright said.

The car and truck owners agreed to have a series of cruises. The first trip took about 30 cars to Good Samaritan Village on Hinkle Drive.

Cartwright said the caravan got split up (thanks to Denton road construction and traffic) but arrived together at the retirement community for the cruise.

“The staff at Good Samaritan was great about telling the residents we were coming,” Cartwright said. “Dozens and dozens and dozens of people were out on the curbs, sitting in lawn chairs waving flags. I think it made a few of us tear up a little. They loved it. A lot of older people have a real soft spot for cars from the ‘50s.”

The next cruise meets at 9 a.m. Saturday in the downtown Denton Wells Fargo parking lot, located along Austin street between East Hickory and Mulberry streets. At 9:30 a.m., the cruise will depart and drive to Good Samaritan Society — Lake Forest Village on Ryan Road.

The next cruises will be Oct. 10 and 24. Drivers who wish to join the cruise should register on the association website. Registration costs $25 and includes a cruise T-Shirt and a swag bag with coupons for downtown merchants. Cruisers will get information about the route in advance and on the day of the cruise.

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877 and via Twitter at

@LBreedingDRC.

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