Horses, tractors, classic cars and more paid a visit to Denton’s downtown Square on Saturday for the North Texas Fair and Rodeo Parade, part of the 91st annual edition of the fair, which began Friday and continues through next Saturday.
The parade began at Denton High School, snaking its way down to the Square and circling the courthouse before heading back. Participants didn’t register in advance, instead arriving at Denton High about an hour early and lining up on a first-come, first-served basis, with no entry fee.
“We just want everybody to be involved if they want to be,” said parade chairwoman Susan Schoenthal, who’s been involved with the fair for more than 30 years. “I just think it’s a good kickoff to the fair since it’s always on the first Saturday.”
Many local businesses and organizations were represented, including the Denton County Antique Tractor, Farm Equipment & Primitive Club, whose members provided a lineup of different tractors. The club has attended the parade for more than 10 years, and president Del Seaver said the tractors make memories for attendees.
“When we’re going down the parade route, we notice eyes light up,” Seaver said.
Judges awarded cash prizes for first place ($100) and second place ($50) in five categories: riding club, commercial, youth, Western wagon and classic car. Additionally, a $250 prize was awarded for best overall.
But for most of the participants, the competition was secondary to connecting with the community and simply having fun. United Hands Community Day Habilitation director Roxanne Walsh said she didn’t even know there were prizes when she decided to come.
“It just seemed like a fun thing to do,” Walsh said. “Who doesn’t want to be in a parade?”
Unsurprisingly, it was C Bar T Properties that won best overall with a Toy Story-themed float featuring children dressed up as characters from the popular movie franchise. The Denton-based property management company took home best overall last year with a superhero-themed float and has been participating for more than 30 years.
Co-owner Oleta Trapp organizes the company’s float each year, and most of the young participants are related to her. Although the theme changes, she said she always does something that appeals to kids.
“After 30 years, it’s habit,” Trapp said. “We just look forward to it every year.”
First place winners also included Texas Cowboys Against Cancer in the riding club category, Rogers Trading Post in commercial, Braswell High School cheerleaders in youth, Calvert Ranch in Western wagon and the antique tractor club in classic car.
Second place winners included Saint Jo in riding club, Bobby Gentry’s Muffler & Brake Shop in commercial, North Texas Trinity Cowboy Church in youth, Precious Memories Carriage Service in Western wagon and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 920 in classic car.
A full schedule of the fair’s events can be found at www.ntfair.com/events.