In Winn Morton's colorful world, there's no such thing as being too over-the-top. 

Bigger, brighter, splashier always has been his motto when it comes to designing the costumes featured in the Texas Rose Festival's Queen's Coronation ceremony.

Each year, he somehow comes up with designs that are more creative, colorful and outrageous than ever before. 

Those who go to the Cowan Center in Tyler to see the elaborate presentation of the Rose Festival queen and her court can't wait to see what he comes up with.

They are never disappointed.

"I'm going all out this year," Morton promised me during an interview this summer at his 100-year-old Lancaster farmhouse. "I have to. It's my swan song."

After this year, Morton is retiring. It's not that he's running out of ideas. Quite the contrary.

But at age 90, it is all becoming a bit too much for him to handle. A few years ago he suffered a serious fall and injured his knees. It is painful for him stand for long periods of time. And he tires more easily.

That's understandable. He is 90.  

As a teenager Morton grew up in Dallas and studied to be a painter. That was too boring. He needed more excitement. 

He was drawn to the razzle dazzle of the circus and eventually landed a job designing the costumes of the big top performers of the Ringling Brothers Circus. 

Stints as a designer for a television variety show, Broadway productions and ice shows followed. He eventually made his way back to Dallas and was the creative genius behind a successful business that designed backdrops and centerpieces for some of the fanciest fundraisers in the Metroplex. 

A friend told him that the Rose Festival in Tyler was looking for a designer for its popular coronation show. 

"I couldn't pass it up," says Morton, when he was offered the gig of working on the ceremony held each October. 

That was in 1982. He has been designing the sets and costumes, including the the elaborate queen's gown and its long flowing train, ever since.

He doesn't know for sure how many Rose Festival costumes he has designed. It surely must be several hundred — maybe even more than 1,000. 

Over the years he dropped all of his clients except the Texas Rose Festival. He says designing the costumes was too much fun to stop.

He told me he is still drawn to the spectacle of the circus. He speaks fondly of the days when he designed the flashy suit of the ringmaster and the sparkling costumes of the acrobats in the spotlight. 

In 2014, the theme of the Rose Festival was "Cirque de la Rose." He loved it. He designed one costume with a headpiece that looked like a towering circus tent. He made one costume look like a ferocious performing lion and another represented the side show fire breather. 

"Did you see 'The Greatest Showman?'" he asked me during the interview. "The costumes were beautiful. They were perfect," he said of the 2017 movie inspired by the story of P. T. Barnum's creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus.

"You know all the circuses are going away now," he continued with a hint of sadness creeping into his voice. "Nothing's like it used to be."

Morton says he will be sad when the curtain closes on the coronation this year. He knows nothing will be quite like it used to be.

Danny Mogle has covered news in East Texas for decades. He currently focuses on arts, entertainment and human interest stories and serves as the editor of Lifestyles Magazine.

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