A HALF-FAST MARCHING BAND AND MORE 4TH FUN IN DENTON

SHAUN TREAT

Fourth of July in Denton is a pretty serious undertaking, but it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Such is the guiding philosophy of the infamous Denton Institute of Phrenology Half-Assed Marching Band, a parade tradition for over 20 years and perennial crowd favorite, just one of the many possibilities for some 4th fun to be had around Denton in case you’re lookin’! Read on to find out how you should be celebrating your independence in Denton this year!


The Denton Institute of Phrenology (the once widely-used study of the shape and size of the human skull) more or less spontaneously formed lo many moons ago, its origins shrouded in myth and legend. Theirs is the only marching band we’ve ever known that includes guitar, melodica, accordion, violin, clarinet, a Kikkoman drum set, and – at least in 2007 – “also featured Paul Slavens playing a totally phat Casio SK-1 through a boom box that added tasty distortion.” Former Brave Combo member and musical-muse-about-town, Jeffrey Barnes, is the patron Saint and merry prankster who spearheads the spirited chaos, flanked by an imprecision drill team called The Triompenettes. In 2013, a mere week prior to the scheduled event, Denton’s MLK Rec Center called Barnes concerned that the longstanding local musical troupe hadn’t yet signed-up for the Fourth of July Parade. “Apparently we are needed,” Barnes wrote in Facebook status update, “Can we refuse if our nation calls us?” Thankfully, these off-key costumed heroes answered the call of their adoring community, and continue to be a favorite draw.

They’re out of tune and out of key. And they do not care. The only rule of the Denton Institute of Phrenology Half-Fast Marching Band is that there are no rules. Photo courtesy of the Denton Record-Chronicle, 2013.

They’re out of tune and out of key. And they do not care. The only rule of the Denton Institute of Phrenology Half-Fast Marching Band is that there are no rules. Photo courtesy of the Denton Record-Chronicle, 2013.

Downtown Denton’s Yankee Doodle Parade begins its route at 9am, but you’ll need to rise early if’n you wanna stake out a prime spot with some shade. Fourth of July Jubilee activities in Quakertown Park go all day long, followed by the traditional ginormous Denton Kiwanis fireworks show from UNT’s Apogee Stadium (sponsored by the club since 1972) beginning after dark at 9:30pm.

Aside from the usual suspects, here’s a few more spots for Fun on the Fourth:

Don't forget to hashtag your hashtags with the hashtag #WDDI so we can share in your Dentoning fun on the Fourth! 


Shaun Treat is a former professor at the University of North Texas and founder of the Denton Haunts historical ghost tour. Doc has written about numerous local places and personalities at his Denton Haunts blog, and is forever indebted to the great work of our local keepers of history like Mike Cochran and Laura Douglas at the Emily Fowler Library for their tireless work in helping preserve Denton’s intriguing past. Be sure to check out our local museums curated by the fine folks at the Denton County Office of History & Culture, and follow @Dentonaut on Twitter for local happenings.