FrankenFest, HearseFest showcase art, cars and Halloween

Erica Hobbs
Special to The Detroit News

Those who love art, cars or Halloween will find two unique festivals to enjoy Saturday with FrankenFest and HearseFest. Both events are Halloween-themed with different areas of focus: art for FrankenFest and cars for HearseFest.

After premiering in Lansing in July, FrankenFest will make its Detroit debut at Historic Fort Wayne.

“I would describe this show as a Halloween fine art fair with monster exhibits and paranormal experts,” said FrankenFest Artistic Director Krista Johnston, who founded the event with her brother, Jerry Jodloski. 

Frankenfest will debut Saturday at Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit.

The festival will include more than 80 vendors, showcasing “mad, magical and mystical” artwork and exhibits, as well as Halloween-season experiences and performers.

“What sets us apart is just the quality of the art,” Johnston said. “The artists are just amazing, and a lot of care was taken to curate a beautiful event with inspiring work from what I feel is the area’s best in this type of genre.”

Southern Michigan Paranormals will be offering workshops from noon – 4 p.m., demonstrating the basics of paranormal activity and the instruments they use to detect it. The event will also include performances from D3 Circus, a Frankenstein exhibit, live podcasters and Saving Scales Reptile Rescue, who will have snakes, lizards and other reptiles available for adoption.

“There’s a lot to take in,” Johnston said. “It’s just fun and inspiring.”

Those who love cars and fantasy can enjoy a fleet of Jurassic Park replica vehicles from Jurassic Park Motor Pool, a fleet of Ecto-1 Vehicles from Ghost Busters Detroit or the Michigan Mystery Machine, where they can go inside and take pictures and hang out with a big Scooby Doo. The festival will also have a hearse on display.

But if one hearse is not enough, Fowlerville’s HearseFest is expecting to showcase more than 100. The festival, which marks its 20th anniversary this year, is a celebration of the funeral vehicle, with a gathering of enthusiasts from across the country bringing a variety of models to the Fowlerville Fairgrounds.

Andrew Mosier, co-founder of the Just Hearse'N Around Hearse Club and one of the event organizers, said visitors are likely to see hearses from throughout history, which could range from a 1938 Cadillac La Salle to a 1996 Chevrolet Suburban to modern, funeral-ready vehicles.

“In our car show, everyone is welcome in their hearse,” Mosier said. "It doesn’t matter if it’s brand-new car, it doesn’t matter if it’s tricked out with zombie stuff or if it’s a rust bucket, we don’t judge.” 

Many of the hearses will also include Halloween displays, and Andrew said a lot of the hearse owners will allow visitors to sit in their cars and experience them up close. 

“Most car shows are just trying to show off the car,” he said. “We’re trying to show off our love for the season and the car at the same time.”

Despite the macabre nature of the hearses, Mosier said the event is family-friendly and will also feature a costume contest, a pinewood derby and vendors. 

“We’re really not focused on the death of things or the end of life,” he said.  “It’s more of the creepiness factor, like the Addams and Muenster families where it’s uplifting and lighthearted.”


11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday

Historic Fort Wayne, 6325 W. Jefferson Ave., Detroit

Free, donations encouraged to support the Historic Fort Wayne Coalition



10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday

8800 W. Grand River, Fowlerville

Tickets: $2 for spectators; free for hearse drivers, passengers, veterans, first responders and children younger than 16.