Weekend festivals keep summer spirit alive
Feeling crestfallen? Like there's nothing to do now that Labor Day is behind us?
Take heart. Three events across the metro region could make this weekend as exciting as any. Choose from two arts festivals, Detroit's Dally in the Alley and Rochester's Art & Apples, as well as an Old Car Festival at Greenfield Village.
All in all, there's no excuse for sitting around home depressed.
Dally in the Alley
Taking Dally in the Alley first, like a number of Detroit's great traditions, the festival -- which happens Saturday -- was born in protest.
"Wayne State wanted to tear down some historic buildings," said Dally organizer and former president Adriel Thornton, "and a couple hippies in the neighborhood decided to throw a barbecue-with-music protest. That’s really how it started."
Now celebrating its 42nd anniversary, the annual Saturday after Labor Day festival has stayed remarkably true to its scrappy, grassroots origins -- no official sponsors, no corporate branding and no admission fee.
"Dally is a community event on steroids," Thornton said. "It's a celebration of life in the Cass Corridor, and not just a music festival."
Ron Scott, the much-beloved community organizer who died in 2015, once described Dally as "the major expression of the Cass Corridor -- eclectic, unique, artistic, interesting, open and free."
Saturday's fun will run from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Once confined to the alley behind Wayne State's Hillberry Theatre, Dally's footprint now stretches from Second to Third (Anthony Wayne Dr.), and W. Forest to W. Hancock.
"It just keeps growing," said Thornton, who once had an alley apartment with a prize view of the proceedings.
Music will blast forth from three stages from late morning till about 9:30 p.m., including performances by Black Shampoo, Pet Psychic, Bryan Hugo Iglesias, The Stools, After Dark Amusement Park and The Muggs.
Dally also features a Kids Fair, with the requisite hands-on art projects including hippiesque tie-dye T-shirts, beeswax candle rolling, flower crown making – and, that staple of arts fairs, face painting.
"To me," Thornton said, "Dally has always been magical. It's one of the most diverse events in city -- whether young, old, queer, straight, black or white. It's truly what you expect from a big city."
Art & Apples Festival
The fair, which runs Friday through Sunday, is the largest annual fundraiser to benefit the nonprofit Paint Creek Center for the Arts, which organizes the event. Genisys Credit Union is the chief sponsor.
For those counting their pennies, the $5 per person donation is tax-deductible.
In addition to purchasing art to take home and treasure, visitors will also be able to check out live glassblowing by artist Chris Ervin, as well as a ceramic wheel demonstration by artists Kelly Haehl and Ryan Lack.
"We are eager to once again welcome thousands of art enthusiasts to the best display yet of talent in a wide variety of mediums," said PCCA Executive Director Elizabeth Chilton.
It goes without saying that there will be a Kids Art Zone, sponsored by Meijer.
Music-wise, Main Stage performances kick off Friday with the Stoney Creek High School Cougar Marching Band and the Eisenhower Dance Detroit Youth Ensemble, among others.
On Saturday, entertainment prospects include the Motor City Irish Dance Company and classic rock from 3rd Degree Burns, while Sunday will see the Swing Shift Orchestra, country music from Melissa Lee, and the celebrated Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic.
Food will be supplied by, among others, Giordano's Wood Fired Pizza, Nothing Bundt Cakes Rochester Hills and Wisconsin Cheese Hound.
As for those apples, they will be supplied for the second year by Blake's Orchard & Cider Mill in Armada.
Old Car Festival at The Henry Ford
If Dally in the Alley and Art & Apples haven't worn you out, swing over to the west side and take in the Old Car Festival at Greenfield Village, which bills itself as the longest-running antique car show in America.
And they do mean "antique." Cars on display date from the 1890s through 1932.
Look on it as an opportunity to revel in "ragtime" America, with historically inspired street food, music, dancing and even a cake walk.
Saturday evening will see a Gaslight Parade of Cars, as well as dancing to the tunes of the River Raisin Ragtime Revue. The evening will finish off with fireworks.
And what could be better?
Rochester Municipal Park, 400 Sixth, Rochester
Free shuttle from Rochester High School, 180 S. Livernois -- 9 p.m.-8 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sun. (No shuttle Friday.)
2 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Fri; 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Sat; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.
$5 tax-deductible donation
Midtown Detroit, between Second & Third (Anthony Wayne Dr.), and W. Forest & W. Hancock
11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday
The Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood, Dearborn
$28 - adults, $25.25 seniors +62, $21 kids 5-11; members enter free
$6 - parking (free to members)
9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat., 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.