A “Fresh Squeezed Lemonade” sign hung high on a vendor’s tent as families and college students lined up for a cup. The sounds of guitar players and singers filled the air as many in the crowd scrambled for shade from the last bits of the summer sun while glazing down.
Dally in the Alley returned to the Cass Corridor neighborhood Saturday for a day of live music, Detroit food truck fare, and shopping for new gems. With over 100 vendors, shoppers could buy homemade jewelry made from copper, silver and other metals. Or buyers shopped for art prints and new up and coming 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 that events like the Dally give small brands exposure while displaying the culture of Detroit.
“I think that they give you a chance to see the culture and see what people have to offer,” said Hartter. ” A lot of small brands out here are trying to get their stuff out there. It gives you a minute to be on display and have people come out to see you so you can grow and get a bigger audience.”
The brand sells signature cropped tees that feature the logo “The Standard Detroit,” beanies, fanny packs and second-hand items or local products from metro Detroit artisans. Standard crop tees start at $15; shoppers can purchase a more vintage inspired cropped tee with a trim for $25.
Hurse and Hartter plan to open a mobile boutique in the months to come. In the meantime, they are planning to attend more events like Dally around the city.
While some individuals searched for their next book find or looked through hundreds of pieces of jewelry from local jewelry vendors, others stood at the Forest Green stage around 12:30 p.m. where Strictly Fine, a Detroit-based band of seven, played funky tunes. On another stage nearby, The Hourlies, a Michigan-based punk band played a number of classic Detroit rock tunes.
As music flowed throughout the crowd, so too did the smell of Amicci’s Pizza, which served up jumbo slices of pizza as well as BBQ chicken and even some options for vegans and vegetarians. If the pizza line was too long, hungry festivalgoers could slide two steps over to Detroit’s Original Seafood Food Truck or grab a bowl mac and cheese from House of Mac, or a giant snow cone from Sno Biz Detroit, a company that focuses on shaved ice sweet treats.
For some this was their first Dally, but not for Andaiye Spencer, 42, a former Detroiter who now lives in Ypsilanti. She says she has been coming since she was a little girl.
“I have lost count,” said Spencer. “I’ve been coming for ages.”
Spencer, who attended Saturday’s Dally with two friends, says that this festival is always a must for her because not only is it her favorite festival in the city but it’s also like the summer send-off.
“You know, this is Detroit,” said Spencer. “This is very like you’re on the streets of Detroit. You’re in the neighborhoods, it’s like people living right there. It’s the heart of Detroit, it’s not in the heat of every other festival it’s kind of off on its own at the end of the summer … and I love that.
“I’m a school teacher, so I usually have a week. and then once the Dally hits, you know the fall is starting,” she said.
Dally in the Alley started in 1977 with a protest turned street party held by Cass Corridor neighborhood residents who were angry over Wayne State University’s plans to tear down historic buildings in the area. Now over 100 vendors participate in the event and four stages allow artists ranging from rock to hip hop to perform. In 2019, over 100,000 people attended the Dally.
Hosted by the North Cass Community Union, the Dally is now in its 43rd year, returning after a pandemic pause in 2020 and 2021. Adriel Thornton, president of NCCU, says that 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,” said Thornton.
To NCCU, he said, it’s really all about connecting with the community.
“I think it’s one of the most representative events of the city of Detroit,” said Thornton.