Saturday, October 1

The Destination provides an entertainment space for all Midlanders

Rounding the back corner of the mixed dirt and gravel pathway, following the thrifted entrance signs posted on the large wooden fence framing the lot, I ran into Gloria and Thelma Salazar pushing a refurbished cabinet on a dolly. Getting ready to host the Tall City Blues Fest on their “day off,” the sisters-in-law plopped the hefty yellow rectangle next to me in the sporadic rain.

“This will be one of our VIP bar liquor cabinets,” Gloria tells me before calling her brother, Martin Salazar, over from across the old lumberyard.

At first glance, the Industrial Avenue location looks like leftovers from a trade days event, intriguing but a little confusing. Yet, once the barn-style front doors open, an eclectic, antique oasis meets guests head on.

“I was in the real estate business, and I had acquired this property about, oh, seven, eight years ago. (The previous owner) worked for a construction company, but he took a fall and was not going to be able to walk ever again. Well, surgery after surgery he did, but he became an artist. He had this entire property and was selling it because he couldn’t take care of it. At the time, I just thought it was a good investment,” Gloria explains.

Hailing from El Paso, Martin, Gloria and the rest of the family moved to Midland in 1981 for work during the oil boom. With a father always on the move, Martin said building, fixing or improving became the norm, instilling perseverance and tight family ties in the duo at a young age. So, when the time came to create a name that reflected the final point of their journey, “The Destination” fit perfectly.

The “FracRat Garage” uses the bed of an old pickup and other car parts as seating for guests at The Destination.

Morgan-Taylor Thomas/Reporter-Telegram

To say the Salazar family works hard would be a severe understatement. With the original overgrown and rundown lumberyard still standing from the 50s, the siblings tirelessly pulled weeds and tossed wood. Five years’ worth of cleaning, collecting and building created the hidden gem, and now customers can see and feel the dwelling creative spirit throughout the open area.

Divided into themed garage-esque seating sections, items such as hubcaps and old car parts fill “The FracRat Garage” while lost-and-found hats from weekend shindigs hang from the rafters in the “Hat Shop.” An old headboard forms the chair in the working shoe shinning sector and “The Little Cabin,” equipped with a functioning fireplace, sits across from the only beach in Midland (“The Tiki”). Historical marker plaques accompany each area, explaining the building process and more. The main stage houses an upside-down hanging drum set, and corn hole, a full bar, food trucks, and a stray rooster put the cherry on top.

However, the path here proved challenging. After opening their doors in May of 2019, The Destination only turned on the lights every third Thursday of the month. Then, with the pandemic in 2020, the hatches locked back up. After restrictions loosened in 2021, the Salazar’s welcomed Midlanders back into their vintage paradise, yet still faced first-year adversities. Nevertheless, Martin and Gloria stay hopeful and persistent in their dream.


“We have to remain flexible, because if something doesn’t work, we have to try something new,” Gloria said. “It may not be overnight, and honestly it may not be next year or the next, but people will find out about this place. There’s something for everyone.”

Priding themselves on forging a comfortable, community-driven space for everyone who walks through The Destination doors, Martin and Gloria established an array of weekly musical guests and genres. From the Tejano Destination Showcase to Open Mic Night, every Thursday provides guests with an exciting display while Fridays and Saturdays host the bands.

In the end, despite the visually pleasing aesthetic and design of The Destination, the compassionate, enthusiastic, and welcoming attitude of the Salazar family make the venue a spot people want to spend their weekends with good friends and good times.

“It’s important to us to give people, with the combination of the music and atmosphere, a great environment and experience more than anything,” Martin said. “We’re the janitors, we’re the guys at the door, we’re the security, but I love it. It’s almost like an adrenaline; it keeps me going. It’s entertainment, that’s what we provide, and it’s priceless.”

 

The Destination season runs March through November. To fond out more about when shows are happening, check out their website at www.thedestinationmidland.com



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