Back in Ferndale for the fifth year in a row on September 14 – 16 is the DIY Street Fair. Unlike your common street fair, the DIY (Do It Yourself) Street Fair was created for a very specific purpose: to showcase the immeasurable amount of creativity, talent, motivation and “can do” attitude that can be found throughout the area and within the people.
Chris Johnston, co-founder of the DIY Street Fair explains, “I had the idea of creating an event that would help spotlight as many local artists, community groups and businesses as possible. I put together a dream team of people who could help bring the idea to fruition, and was very fortunate that everyone I asked to help signed on.”
Since its launch in 2008, the Street Fair has grown in every aspect. From local artists and crafters to area restaurants and brewers, those who live by and operate with a do-it-yourself ethic have helped make the event a continued success.
“One of the goals of the event was to create a marketplace for artists who, while incredibly talented, have other jobs or passions that keep them from entering the ‘traditional art fair circuit’,” Johnston noted. And some of those artists from year one are still involved, growing their talents right along with the Street Fair.
Johnston made the comparison that, like Traverse City and its cherries and Rochester and its apples, Ferndale and its surrounding communities have an abundance of very creative people and that is why it was chosen as the home of the DIY Street Fair.
For Johnston, seeing the way people respond to the event and understanding the goal of the street fair is one of its biggest successes. “I think when people arrive and feel the community feeling that we create, they let their guard down and become part of our community,” he stated.
Aside from its supporting role in the success of local artists, entrepreneurs and business owners, the DIY Street Fair stands behind its hard work and dedication to being “green”. The event even has its own recycling sponsor, Garden Fresh Salsa.
“We want to prove that you can have an event this size and still maintain a strong focus on the environment,” said Johnston.
There are several different ways the Street Fair aids in promoting support for local artists and groups. For example, a community lemonade stand is stocked for local groups to run during the event. The group then gets to keep ALL of the earnings of their sales. In an effort to raise money for the art programs at all Ferndale Public Schools, this year’s street fair welcomed the addition of a 5K run.
“This is a big year for us. We’ve got an expanded footprint, and for really the first time, an expanded group of sponsors,” said Johnston. He added how proud he is of the sponsors that have chosen to be a part of the DIY Street Fair.
The DIY Street fair is a 2-day, 3-night event and is free to anyone who wants to attend. This year’s festivities will include 57 bands, 18 Michigan breweries, 140 local vendors and 11 local restaurants.
Area musical talent will be showcased across 3 stages over the course of the weekend. Street Fair attendees will have the opportunity to purchase self-produced music and merchandise for the acts.
While enjoying the sounds of local tunes you can sample several Michigan craft beers in the Beer Garden, food from local restaurants and food trucks on Restaurant Row, or shop for original pieces of artwork and more in the Marketplace. If your children are starting to get a bit antsy, just stroll on over to the Kids Zone for their entertainment!
“One thing I really like about this event is that you never know what you’re going to see as you go from booth to booth. There are really a lot of inspiring artists out there, and this is a showcase of those whose ideas are different than the mainstream,” Johnston concluded.
For more information of the DIY Street Fair visit the website at www.diystreetfair.com.