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The fourth-annual Detroit Design Festival, which launches Sept. 23, promises six days packed with lectures, exhibitions, studio visits, performance and parties, all designed to spotlight Detroit’s emerging reputation as a creative beehive.

Those attending can look forward to 30 design “happenings,” and to be exposed to the work of more than 500 designers.

Highlights include a kickoff party from 6-10 p.m. Sept. 23, which, with cocktails and appetizers, ought to be networking nirvana. The fun takes place at the College for Creative Studies’ Taubman Center, with a theme highlighting Detroit’s historic role as a design capital. Admission is free, but registration is required.

Other festival highlights include a full day devoted to industry Sept. 24, Eastern Market After Dark on Sept. 25 and a Design Crawl on Sept. 26, with visits to some of the city’s hottest studios all along the People Mover route.

Heavy-hitters who will speak or present throughout the week include Diana Budds, editor of Dwell magazine, and fashion historian Carmela Spinelli (both Sept. 24), as well as Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibargüen (Sept. 26).

On Sept. 26-27, DDF will merge with the exhilaration of Dlectricity, Detroit’s nighttime festival of art and light — a real dazzler, if you didn’t catch the last one in 2012.

Other must-attends include a Comics Workshop on Sept. 27, a Detroit Design Center open house, a Detroit Wine Stroll sponsored by the Detroit Area Art Deco Society and a Light Up Livernois Encore/DDF closing party Sept. 28, celebrating the surprising revival of Detroit’s historic Avenue of Fashion.

For all your questions about the festival, and to reserve your ticket for the kickoff party, visit www.detroitdesignfestival.com or search for Detroit Design Festival on Facebook.

MHodges@detroitnews.com

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