Detroit — Dally in the Alley returns Saturday for its 41st year, turning the Cass Corridor into a rave-like block party with special twists at every turn. 

This year, the one-of-a-kind festival is hosting its first drag queen show to its closing acts.

The local group, called WIG, will perform at 10 p.m. before the Midtown festival closes at 11 p.m.

Founder Thomas McCarter said he started WIG last spring after he was tired of traveling to Ann Arbor every week to perform and wanted something close to home.

"We were met with open arms at our performance in April, so we just kept the ball rolling and made a monthly show out of it," said McCarter, 21. "By the third show, we were featured in Between The Lines. After that, there were over 100 people crammed into my living room. What better way to move up then Dally in the Alley."

McCarter, a fifth-year dance student at Wayne State University, said it seems too good to be true, but they plan to give the audience an unconventional 45-minute performance. 

"It's in some ways a typical drag show. We lip sync songs, but we're also into weird stuff like in a past show, a girl doused herself in maple syrup and baby oil," said McCarter. "It can be a little messy and I'm excited to see where that translates at Dally. Expect high energy, with little-unexpected twists." 

WIG will have six queens and one drag king perform pop songs, some metal death rock and maybe a show tune in the mix, McCarter said. 

The group is one of 35 acts that will perform Saturday during the event known for its musicians, artists, food, trinkets and culture.

The festival, held annually on the Saturday after Labor Day, includes 40 musical acts on four stages and more than 200 vendors selling everything from beer to books. Proceeds are used to help the North Cass Community Union fund community projects. 

This year, the festival is only getting bigger, said Robbie Dwight, who chairs the event's music committee. They've expanded the kid's fair, an additional beer garden, more merchandise booths, more art space and an upgraded sound system at their four stages, he said. 

Dwight said organizers receive more than 250 applications each year for musical acts and WIG was the obvious choice to close out the show. 

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

"I've wanted to incorporate drag for the longest time and when we stumbled upon WIG, we said what better time to do drag than now," said Dwight. "I can't wait to see what they're going to do and change people's expectations as to what they'll see at Dally in the future."


Dally is known for its retro, locally designed collectible posters. This year, officials reached way back to artist Brian Taylor, creator of the first Dally poster.

Between Forest and Hancock, Second Avenue and Anthony Wayne Drive from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.


Read or Share this story: