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DIY Street Fair encourages public to be more creative

Published September 4, 2013

» click to enlarge «
Jennifer Belair, of Detroit, works in her booth during last year’s DIY Street Fair on Nine Mile Road in Ferndale. The sixth annual DIY fair returns Sept. 13-15 in Ferndale with more stages, more beer tents and more vendors than any previous year.

FERNDALE — DIY Street Fair Organizer Emily Ribeiro said there is a movement taking over the country where more and more people are willing to go outside their comfort zones and try to complete projects, no matter the medium, by themselves.

The sixth annual DIY Street Fair will put more than a hundred do-it-yourself artists on display Sept. 13-15 on Nine Mile Road in Ferndale. Combined with three beer tents, live music and several free activities, Ribeiro said the fair offers something for everyone.

“I think most people in the community and people that attend the DIY Street Fair are like-minded in that they are looking for something new or interesting,” Ribeiro said. “The whole building-something-out-of-nothing movement that is happening — the DIY movement in general — it has come about with the growth of small businesses, and people are trying to do something bigger and better.

“A lot of people are interested in (the DIY) movement in this area, so they turn to us to see it all in one place.”

The fair will take place from 6 p.m. to midnight Sept. 13, 11 a.m. to midnight Sept. 14 and noon to 11 p.m. Sept. 15. A majority of the vendors, music and activities will take place along East Nine Mile Road and Troy Street, including the parking lots around the two streets.

Ribeiro said the fair is bigger than any previous year, with two full-size stages, roughly 143 vendors and several food trucks.

“We’ve expanded the footprint one more time, and the fair is a little bit bigger and a little less congested, so there is more space for all the fairgoers,” she said. “We have a lot of big bands, local and otherwise, so having two stages for the first time is great. We try to bring in something new every year, but keep the good things from previous years, as well.”

Joining some of the expanded attractions this year is a poster art show inspired by Detroit. A corn-hole contest, sponsored by several of the Chevrolet dealers in the area, is also coming back with proceeds going to local charities.

The kid zone also got a lot of attention this year, Organizer Krista Johnston said. The free Ferris wheel and climbing wall are back, but organizers added some new do-it-yourself activities.

“The Michigan Science Center will be doing some hands-on experiments, the (Detroit Institute of Arts) is hosting a make-and-take craft and the library is doing a hero story time on Saturday,” Johnston said. “It is going to be a lot of fun, and basically our kids zone is all about empowering kids — that they can be engineers, they can be an artist, they can be a musician. We give them hands-on experiences so they can see how easy and fun all those things are.”

Returning for its second year is the DIY 5k. The 5k starts at 9 a.m. Sept. 14 with a 1-mile fun run taking place at 9:15 a.m.

This year, Johnston said the theme is Art on the Run, as the running events will benefit the art programs at the Ferndale schools.

“There are going to be seven huge canvases that have different themes along the run, and runners have the option to stop and take a brush and, with a quick flick, add a little bit to it,” she said. “By the end, hopefully, we multiply that little motion by a couple hundred people and then we have a community masterpiece. It is kind of a unique and fun concept, and it will raise money for art supplies in the classroom.”

Ribeiro said all of the event organizers are based in Ferndale, and having the annual fair in the city has been great for the first five years. Offering inexpensive fun combined with some beer and music seems to be a hit in Ferndale.

“We all want business to come to Ferndale, and we want the city to continue to grow and expand and become a community of value,” Ribeiro said. “The bands are fun and interesting, the crafters are handpicked to provide a good variety for fairgoers and we are all just striving to put on an event that reflects the feeling that Ferndale has.”

For more information on the DIY Street Fair, and a schedule of events, visit

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