There’s nothing like ringing in this September like attending Detroit’s largest community held festival—Dally in the Alley! This Saturday, September 8th (the first Saturday after Labor Day, as always) is the 41st annual Dally, and let me tell you, we are so excited! While patiently counting down the days, we thought it would be good practice to give you a guide to the festival, whether you’ve never been before, or you have been but want to know what to expect this time around.
Dally in the Alley is 12 full hours of art, music, food, and beer, beginning at 11 am and ending at 11 pm. If you want to stay for the full 12 hours, totally up to you! We do suggest that if you’re bringing children, come earlier in the day because the festival gets pretty packed pretty quickly and is very busy at night. Also, plan ahead, because parking in Midtown can get pretty tricky with the amount of people coming out for the festival.
Dally takes place in the Cass Corridor, between Forest Avenue and Hancock and between 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave/Anthony Wayne. There are two entrances/exits: one right by Third Street Bar at Forest and 3rd, and near Marcus Market on 2nd between Prentis and Forest.
This interactive map on the Dally website will show you where the beer, stages, bathrooms, and first aid are.
There are three different stages for music at this year’s Dally. 30+ performers are split between the different stages. The acts I’m looking forward to include GIRL FIGHT (2:15 pm) and Mexican Knives (9:00 pm) at the Garden Stage, Uncle Gael and the Politicians (5 pm) and Liquid Monk (6 pm) at the Alley Stage, and Fyiah (8:30 pm) at the Forest Stage.
Dally is the perfect place to get food from some of the best Detroit spots. Food vendors this year include Amicci’s (pizza), Sno Biz (shaved ice), Detroit Shrimp and Fish, Full Course Catering, Majestic Cafe, People's Pierogi Collective, Yum Village (Afro-Caribbean cuisine), RollUp! Truck (food truck catering), Nosh Pit (vegan), and Union Street (American classics).
Dally in the Alley does not disappoint when it comes to things to do and look at. The festival will be lined with tables and booths with artists and vendors selling goods, including t-shirts, wall art, and more. My favorites have always been the vintage clothing booths and the cheap, used records for sale. Creativity in Detroit is limitless, and Dally in the Alley is a perfect showcase and reflection of the innovation of the city’s people.
Finally, let’s talk about the one thing that inspires us all to come together and celebrate anything: BEER. According to the Dally in the Alley Facebook page, the festival is once again working with Motor City Brewing Works to supply a variety of beers/drinks to its guest. Four different beers will be offered, as well as hard cider and a wine-cooler beverage. Different varieties of wine will also be served. Of course, other non-alcoholic beverages will be served including Faygo pop, bottled water, and more.
Perhaps the best part about Dally is that much of its proceeds go back into the community. The fest’s main sponsor is the North Cass Community Union (NCCU), an organization whose projects help improve quality of life for those who live in the area. For more information on the NCCU, visit its Facebook page.
This year’s Dally in the Alley may be the best one yet, which is really saying something. According to the event's official Facebook page, the fest is bigger and better this year, featuring an expanded kids’ fair just outside the festival grounds, a new beer garden, and better sound on each stage. Another good thing is that the predicted weather for this year’s Dally is cooler than usual, with temps ranging in the 70s. We recommend you dress comfy and wear festival appropriate shoes—ones that can withstand dirt and a lot of walking.
Dally in the Alley is truly a Detroit event you do not want to miss, and it only happens once a year. We hope to see you there!
Get your Dally on!
P.S. If Dally doesn’t sound like your style, there are lots of other events happening in the area. One that piques our interest is The Dirtiest Most Bizarre Show That is Not in an Alley, Ever! This one-day festival is at the Old Miami from 12 pm to 12:30 am and includes an art fair, circus performances, dancers, live music and more. This is a 21+ event with a cover charge of $2 before 6 pm and $10 for the rest of the evening. Sounds like things could get pretty weird!