DIY Street Fair in Ferndale celebrates do-it-yourself culture

Erica Hobbs
Special to The Detroit News

Ferndale’s 13th annual DIY Street Fair returns this weekend for three days celebrating local artists, musicians, organizations and more with a “do-it-yourself” spirit. 

"DIY is not only about art. It is a way of doing things that is the driving force behind everything at the event,” said co-founder Chris Johnston. "DIY was created as an answer to what was missing in the area: a forum to gather, support and celebrate the DIY culture that Detroit was built upon and that has continued to flourish ever since.”

Ferndale’s 13th annual DIY Street Fair celebrates the do-it-yourself spirit.

This year’s fair will feature more than 120 artisans showcasing handcrafted art ranging from traditional paintings, sculptures and photography to home goods like furniture, decor and pet supplies, to personal wear like clothing, masks and jewelry and more. Johnston said visitors will find things different from the work of traditional art fair artists. 

“This is a chance to see a lot of stuff that you can’t see, all the great stuff that’s kind of hidden that you don’t know really exists,” he said. “It’s really inspiring, too, even if you don’t buy the art or need something, it’s like going to an art museum or show.”

The event’s musical lineup is the first to be dedicated solely to Michigan bands. Highlights include the Muggs and the Beggars on Friday; the Verve Pipe and the High Strung on Saturday; and Mac Saturn and Laith Al Saadi on Sunday. This year, the stage has been moved from its original location between Woodward Avenue Breweries and the Emory to a bit further down the road near the library facing Woodward Avenue.

“It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s just going to make things different and better,” Johnston said. “More people will be able to see the stage this year than before.”

A dozen food trucks will also be on hand, with an emphasis on Detroit-centric cuisine, craft brews and cocktails.

The fair started in 2007 in response to the Great Recession that crippled the nation’s economy, especially in Michigan. A lot of people lost their jobs, and artists especially were struggling to sell their work. Now 14 years later, Johnston said it is DIY all over again in a similar situation with COVID. 

“It’s the DIY spirit of not only helping each other out, but just doing what it is that you do that you’re good at and that like you like doing,” he said. “It’s giving people a venue to showcase that.”

DIY Street Fair

downtown Ferndale on Woodward between East Nine Mile and East Troy

6 p.m.-midnight Friday; 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday