Dally in the Alley returns to Cass Corridors after the COVID-19 pandemic

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A “Fresh Squeezed Lemonade” sign hung high on a vendor’s tent as families and students lined up for a cup. The sounds of guitarists and vocalists filled the air as many in the crowd rushed to seek shade from the last rays of the summer sun while laying down.

Dally in the Alley returned to the Cass Corridor neighborhood on Saturday for a day of live music, food for Detroit’s food trucks and shopping for new gems. With over 100 vendors, shoppers could purchase homemade jewelry in copper, silver, and other metals. Or shoppers bought art prints and new emerging fashion brands like The Standard Detroit.

It was the third Dally for the luxury brand owned by Robert E. Hurse, said Hurse’s partner Holly Hartter. She says events like the Dally give exposure to smaller brands while displaying Detroit culture.

“I think they give you a chance to see the culture and see what the people have to offer,” Hartter said. “A lot of the smaller brands here are trying to get their products out there. It gives you a minute to get exposure and get people to come see you so you can grow and get a bigger audience.”

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The brand sells iconic cropped t-shirts emblazoned with “The Standard Detroit” logo, beanies, fanny packs, and thrift or locally sourced goods from Metro Detroit artisans. Standard t-shirts start at $15; shoppers can pick up a more vintage-inspired cropped tee with trim for $25.

Hurse and Hartter plan to open a mobile store in the coming months. In the meantime, they plan to attend other events like Dally in the city.

Artist Glass by Gaston found a creative way to use Taco Bell hot sauce packs for frames he was selling for $20 during Dally in the Alley in Detroit on Saturday, September 10, 2022.

While some people were looking for their next book, finding or browsing through hundreds of pieces of jewelry from local jewelry vendors, others stood on the Forest Green stage around 12:30 p.m. where Detroit-based seven-person band Strictly Fine played funky tunes. On another stage nearby, The Hourlies, a Michigan-based punk band, played a number of classic Detroit rock tunes.

As the music passed through the crowd, so did the smell of Amicci’s Pizza, which served giant slices of pizza as well as barbecue chicken and even options for vegans and vegetarians. If the pizza line was too long, hungry festival-goers could slip two steps to Detroit’s original seafood food truck or grab a bowl of macaroni and cheese from House of Mac, or a giant snow cone from Sno Biz. Detroit, a company that focuses on shaved ice. treat.

For some it was their first Dally, but not for Andaiye Spencer, 42, a former Detroiter who now lives in Ypsilanti. She says she’s been coming since she was little.

“I lost count,” Spencer said. “I’ve been coming for ages.”

Spencer, who attended Saturday’s Dally with two friends, says the festival is always a must for her because not only is it her favorite festival in the city, but it’s also like the start of summer.

“You know, it’s Detroit,” Spencer said. “It’s kind of like you’re on the streets of Detroit. You’re in the neighborhoods, it’s like people live there. It’s the heart of Detroit, it’s not in the heat of all the other festivals, it’s a bit lonely at the end of the summer… and I love that.

“I’m a teacher, so I usually have a week. And then once the Dally comes, you know the fall is on,” she said.

Dally in the Alley began in 1977 with a protest-turned-street-party organized by residents of the Cass Corridor neighborhood who were angry at Wayne State University’s plans to demolish historic buildings in the area. Today, more than 100 vendors attend the event and four stages allow artists ranging from rock to hip hop to perform. In 2019, over 100,000 people attended the Dally.

The band Strictly Fine performs on the Forest Stage as people watch, during Dally in the Alley in Detroit on Saturday, September 10, 2022.

Hosted by the North Cass Community Union, the Dally is now in its 43rd year, returning after a pandemic hiatus in 2020 and 2021. NCCU President Adriel Thornton says they are super excited to be back this year.

“We haven’t done this in two years, it’s kind of like getting our feet wet again. But it feels really good,” Thornton said.

For NCCU, he said, it’s really about connecting with the community.

“I think it’s one of the most representative events in the city of Detroit,” Thornton said.

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