Denton boasts a lofty population of about 1,700 residents. However, around the week of Fourth of July, tens of thousands of people flock to the Denton Farmpark for the Annual Southeast Threshers' Reunion. This year will mark the 48th anniversary of the largest steam, gas-engine and antique farm show in the Southeast.
The festival began as a way to celebrate threshing, which is the process of separating edible grain from the inedible chaff that surrounds it. It has grown over the years and includes a variety of historic demonstrations, hundreds of antique tractors, cars, and engines.
Poised like the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, Khalisa “Kelly Rae” Williams claimed her space on the Piedmont poetry slam stage, smooth brown hands slightly flexed. Her shoulders were upright, but her head was bowed so deeply, it appeared to be buried within the nurture of her own chest. I recognized that stance; the spoken word poet was finding her “special place” before an outpouring of words that birthed Davidson County’s Speak Up! poetry movement.
Like many natives, Kaitlin Baker, executive director of the South Davidson Resource Center (SDRC), remembers the security of growing up in a thriving Denton community. She also recalls a major shift occurring, as rampant job loss brought a proud Davidson County to staggering levels of poverty, unemployment, and reliance on community resources for self-sufficiency. In 1993, SDRC began providing food, clothing, and utility assistance in response to the growing number of Denton and Silver Valley families lacking adequate transportation to Lexington or Thomasville for work or assistance.
Since the 1940’s, cruise-ins have been popular around the country. Robert Hearn, Steve Everhart, and Larry Helms decided they wanted to relive earlier times by gathering friends and their specialty cars in a cruise-in location. Cruise nights ran regularly in Uptown Lexington, but were disbanded in 1988 due to disrespectful crowds, weekend traffic congestion, and difficulty getting emergency vehicles through the traffic. Hearn contacted Uptown Lexington and the Chief of Police to reestablish a cruise-in, and the cruise-ins were back.
I was fascinated with trains as a child and remember begging my father to go to the depot to watch them. I recall seeing passengers eating at white-clothed tables in the dining car. Train watching still entertains many fans young and old around the world—young and old. These days without having to visit the tracks, ardent fans (called railfans) are tracking and live streaming trains on their cell phones and other devices.
Pack it, shape it, wet it, dust it, slap it, ride it, and repeat until perfect. Freshly groomed and prepared, terra cotta waves rise, fall, and flow like a river of clay, displaying the artistry of these dirt digging denizens.
Bike parks have been popping up all over major cities, yet in Davidson County unsung private tracks have been here all along, paid for not in municipal dollars, but in sweat.