The streets of downtown Denison were transported back to a simpler time Saturday with the arrival of the Doc Holliday: Saints and Sinners Festival.
Hundreds of people, and a number of horses, came out to take part in the old-west themed celebration of one of the city’s famous historical figures. Doc Holliday lived in Denison for a brief period and worked as a dentist and gambler, among other trades before heading out west to participate in one of the most famous shootouts in American history, at the O.K. Corral. There were reenactments of events from Holliday’s life taking place Saturday among other historical sights.
“This brings people to the area who might not otherwise visit,” Denison Main Street Director Donna Dow said of the event. “It creates a different type of activity for people to enjoy. It is a fun time, we get to go back in time, people seem to enjoy that. It has been a very popular event for us.”
Dow said the festival is in its fourth year and each year it attracts western aficionados from all walks of life. She said there were lots of people exploring all the different types of entertainment that was taking place throughout the day.
Denison staff and downtown organizations transformed the downtown district into a snapshot of the old west, with live demonstrations ranging from artisans and blacksmiths making items on the spot, to horse-drawn carriage rides and authentic musical demonstrations. Those who got to Heritage Park early enough were treated to a live gun-slinging demonstration and some old-west style gambling techniques.
There were patrons far and wide, some from Oklahoma, others from Dallas and everywhere in between, heading to Denison to witness the events. There was even a wild west-style camp, complete with tents and an outhouse for added authenticity.
Kenny Sanders and his sister Linda Sanders, traveled to the festival to see the sights.
“The music was really interesting,” Kenny Sanders said. “We’re not looking for anything specific. We’re just going to check it all out.”
It was the first time for the two to visit the festival as Kenny Sanders lives near Bells and Linda Sanders lives in Oklahoma. The duo said it was fun seeing all the historical reenactments. Linda Sanders said the Katy Depot was a beautiful building and she enjoyed seeing the sights inside.
Among the contests taking place included a best-dressed sinner and best-dressed saint, as well as best beard and mustache.
“People get to learn about Doc Holliday and the way people lived during that time period,” Dow said.
What did you think of this year’s festival? Richard A. Todd is the Herald Democrat’s Denison area reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org