Texoma Marketing and Media Group officials say it will redefine the experience for fans at this year's annual Battle of the Ax rivalry game between Sherman and Denison. The TMMG Battle of the Ax Tailgating Experience will be a place for fans from both sides to enjoy pre-game and post-game fun and festivities, including music, food trucks, vendors, face painting and other activities. The event will also continue to offer fun during the game for those without tickets — and an exclusive livestream of the game.

“We're so excited to make this year's Battle of the Ax Tailgating Experience even bigger than last year's and to make this event free and open to the public,” TMMG Senior Group Publisher Nate Rodriguez said. “The event will be a place for fans to show their team spirit and to fellowship with the larger Texoma community.”

Sherman Mayor David Plyler said the city is excited to welcome Bearcat fans and Yellow Jacket guests.

“The Battle of the Ax is something we look forward to each and every year — it's high school football at its very finest,” Plyler said. “The tailgating experience has only added another layer of fun and excitement to the event. It gives both our fans, as well as our visitors from the north, an opportunity to see a little bit of what makes us so proud to call Sherman home.”

Thanks to the support of the city of Sherman, the event will be held in front of Kidd-Key Auditorium. The 300 and 400 blocks of North Elm Street and the 200 block of West Mulberry Street will be closed for the event.

TMMG is also collaborating with the Sherman Independent School District to help make this event a success. There will be bus shuttles available to remote parking, a bounce house and other activities for the family.

“The Battle of the Ax is well-known throughout Texas and Oklahoma, and we are excited about the values it fosters like teamwork, pride, competition and determination” Superintendent David Hicks said. “Generations of Bearcats and Yellow Jackets have been part of this incredible tradition and the tailgate experience sponsored by the Herald Democrat is just one example of the wonderful community support that benefits both schools.”

Denison Superintendent Henry Scott echoed Hicks' comments.

“As always, Denison ISD staff and students are looking forward to enjoying the many fun Battle of the Ax activities that the Herald Democrat is hosting for our communities,” Scott said. “The game is always a great rivalry, but these types of community activities unite us and bring us together in so many positive and beneficial ways. We all share a common goal that will ultimately help shape the future of our entire area: the successful education of our Grayson County children.”

Organizers say the event will be an opportunity to bring the Sherman-Denison community together.

“The Battle of the Ax rivalry has been a source of fun and healthy competition for more than a century,” TMMG Executive Editor Jonathan Cannon said. “We believe this event will be a chance to celebrate that as well as celebrate the things that make Sherman-Denison one community and promote that unity.”

The planned livestream of the game itself is expected to help elevate the experience.

“We're so excited to be able to give fans a chance to see the action, even if they aren't able to get tickets to the sold-out game,” Cannon said. “This is something that came together thanks to the support of SISD, DISD and the UIL. It will join only a handful of other high school games that the UIL has allowed to be shown live.”

Texoma Marketing and Media Group is the publisher of the Herald Democrat, Van Alstyne Leader, Anna-Melissa Tribune, Prosper Press, Best of Texoma, Lake Texoma Life, and area shoppers.