Scenes From Saturday's Coffin Races in Denton.

Picture this: an epic hill; nearly 1,000 spectators; copious hay bales; intricate coffin soapbox derby cars; a very lively group of Denton's finest business owners and residents, all dressed up in their Halloween get-ups; oh, and almost no rules whatsoever.

This past Saturday afternoon, the City of Denton hosted its annual Day of the Dead Festival in its historic downtown neighborhood on the Square. And, in addition to the area's usual perks, crowds were also able to enjoy some added art, vendors, live music and live screen-printing.

But, mostly, they seemed to come out and watch the spectacle that is this city's now-infamous coffin races. And for good reason, too: It's a pretty crazy event.

With but a few restrictions on the size of the wheels allowed on their “coffins,” racers are encouraged to go all-out with their downhill-racing derby cars. And they do: Although technically a “coffin” race, the “coffin” aspect only made up a portion of the entrants' designs; from a flying yellow banana split to a giant barrel on wheels, the rides in this race ran the creative gamut. The time and care that participants so clearly put into their death boxes was truly impressive, to say the least; one coffin even had a full sound system installed in it.

It was a visual delight, too. Crowds couldn't help but laugh and scream with glee as these riders zoomed past, down the Hickory Street hill, their rickety coffins almost uniformly shaking the whole way before riders crashed into the pit of hay that awaited them just beyond the finish line.

In total, 38 racers entered the time trials that kicked off the races, with the top 19 teams moving on to the second round. From there, the fastest eight racers faced off in head-to-head heats before the winner was crowned. But others would emerge victorious, too, as additional participants were awards prizes for “craziest coffin” and the always nebulous, but surely appreciated, “people's choice” honor.

In other words? There was ample opportunity for Dentonites to shine on this day. And, to be sure, most everyone did.


















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