Detroit musicians Hannah Lewis and Mica Spence play music during the 2019 Funky Ferndale Art Fair.

Detroit musicians Hannah Lewis and Mica Spence play music during the 2019 Funky Ferndale Art Fair.

File photo by Donna Agusti


Funky Ferndale Art Fair, DIY Street Fair to return downtown

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published September 9, 2021

 Sheena and Fernando Olave look at the art from Kristen Eakin’s Dote Note + Gift at  the DIY Street Fair in 2019. The event will return to Ferndale Sept. 24-26.

Sheena and Fernando Olave look at the art from Kristen Eakin’s Dote Note + Gift at the DIY Street Fair in 2019. The event will return to Ferndale Sept. 24-26.

File photo by Donna Agusti

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FERNDALE — Two major fairs located in the heart of downtown Ferndale will return this month.

The Funky Ferndale Art Fair and the DIY Street Fair will take place on both sides of Nine Mile Road Sept. 24-26. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the first time both events will be held since 2019.

 

Funky Ferndale Art Fair
Celebrating its 17th annual event in the city, the Funky Ferndale Art Fair will have around 110 vendors. Taking place on the west side of Woodward Avenue, the footprint for the fair will be West Nine Mile Road between Woodward Avenue and Planavon Street, as well as West Troy Street from Woodward to Allen Street.

Event producer Mark Loeb said the fair will be similar to ones held in the past, but it also will be different because of the precautions being taken due to COVID-19. That includes the fair’s bigger footprint.

“We’ll have more space between booths, of course, and then we’re going to add parts of Troy Street and Allen Street so that we can still have a good number of artists represented,” Loeb said. “It’s not gonna be significantly different. It’ll feel different because of the spread, but it’ll be fuller in quantity.”

The fair will have its usual vendors selling art, such as paintings, sculptures, jewelry and more. What it won’t have in 2021 that it did before will be food trucks.

“We’ve taken away the food trucks because there’s significant food options already in the city,” Loeb said. “Instead, we’ve used that space to put in more artists so that we wouldn’t have to diminish the show.”

One addition to the fair is an author’s tent featuring local authors conducting readings and signings. There also will be an area for attendees to bring their dogs and allow them to create a piece of art.

“We decided we would set up a situation where people can bring their dog and, for a small fee to cover the materials, have the dog create a painting and take it home and hang it,” Loeb said.

 

DIY Street Fair
As in years past, the DIY Street Fair will hold its 13th event in Ferndale the same weekend on the east side of Woodward. The footprint for the festival will cover East Nine Mile Road from Woodward to Bermuda Street, the Ferndale Area District Library parking lot, East Troy from Woodward to Bermuda, and the Falvey parking lot behind the WAB and Loving Touch.

Event organizer Krista Johnston said precautions to distance attendees were taken in planning the festival, such as moving the music stage on Troy near the library to spread people out, as well as inviting fewer artists this year, but overall the event will be similar to older editions.

The festival will have 130 artists on site selling their goods, including those familiar to DIY and many who will be new to the event.

“It’s been fascinating to kind of witness people’s pivots,” Johnston said. “Some of our favorites have been extra creative during the pandemic and have modified their wares to new things, whereas some artists have found the past year and a half to be not as creative. So some people have decided to take the year off because they just plainly don’t have the inventory to do a big show such as ours, but we have a lot of new people this year — a really great percentage.

“We really try to keep the event fresh every year, and this is no exception,” she continued. “A lot of people in their downtime have made new businesses, made new art businesses, or have done art on the side and have really exploded with creativity and have made a business out of it. So it’s been really exciting to see the new crop of artists come up out of this difficult year.”

 

Safety precautions
Much like every other event that has attempted to take place in 2021, both DIY and the Funky Ferndale Art Fair have been keeping an eye on the COVID-19 pandemic and planning their respective festivals around what needs to be done in order to provide a safe atmosphere for people to attend.

Johnston said any festival producer would agree that they have to have an “extreme” amount of optimism to plan these types of events, and that they’re trying to plan theirs with safety in mind for the artists and community.

“We’re just trying to be so mindful of everyone,” she said. “Even more so in years past, we’ve always had an extra commitment to community because we live and work in Ferndale and this is our home town event, but especially now with safety concerns and the extra requirements regarding the pandemic, we just want to be … mindful.”

Loeb agreed, adding his thought that still they can’t 100% be confident the event will happen or that there won’t be any changes in the lead-up

“We feel we can do it safely and so does the city. So we’re moving forward,” he said.

Overall, both Loeb and Johnston are excited to bring back their respective festivals.

“It’s been a great year. The people who’ve been coming out to our shows this year have been so excited to be back out and been very robust in their support,” Loeb said.

“We are overjoyed to be able to bring the event back,” Johnston said. “It’s something that is meaningful to so many people. The artists were thrilled to have the opportunity, and we are just so excited to be able to support artists and musicians and local businesses that have the DIY spirit.”

The hours for the Funky Ferndale Art Fair are 3-7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24; 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26. The hours for the DIY Street Fair are 6 p.m. to midnight Sept. 24; 11 a.m. to midnight Sept. 25; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 26.

For more information about both events, visit www.funkyferndaleartfair.com and www.ferndalediy.com.

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