FERNDALE – The organizers expect the East Nine Mile Road to be packed to the brim with people for the 14th annual DIY Street Fair.
The DIY Street Fair will be held September 23-25 at East Nine Mile and East Troy Street. Event hours are 6 p.m. to midnight on Friday, September 23; 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, September 24; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, September 25.
Event co-founder Krista Johnston described this year’s DIY Street Fair as the largest they’ve ever shown, featuring more than 150 artists and shop owners, nearly half of whom are new to the fair.
It is always by design that many new artists are included, Johnston said, as there are always at least 40% of new DIY artists. This year, the number of new artists reached 44%, and there was a record waiting list for those wishing to participate.
“Especially with so many artists, we always try to make it fresh but…we definitely have old favourites,” she said. “This year, it just so happened to be the biggest number of new DIY artists. I hope it’s mostly because people want to be on the show, and I think everyone is feeling creative again and getting back to work post-pandemic.”
A shop returning to DIY this year is Brave Wimp, owned by Melissa Heimowitz Close, of Oak Park. Haimowitz-Clouse operates her shop, which started in 2017 in the Rust Belt Market, and sells what she describes as “holistic, eco-friendly art goods” made from wood sourced in the Midwest. Merchandise is everything from brooches and earrings to coloring books, candles, and clothes.
DIY was the first show Haimowitz-Clouse was ever in five years ago, and she’s been a part of it ever since.
She said, “I would say I love doing DIY for the same reasons I love working in the Rust Belt market: It’s really community-focused and excited about supporting local businesses and … getting involved in my community.” “It’s a back-and-forth with people because everyone is excited to be there and involved in supporting the business, whether that’s artists or food trucks — just the whole event around it has so much energy.”
Yvonne Spampinato and her KEPT act will also be returning to DIY in its eleventh year. The Oak Park resident has been crafting jewelry from brass and semi-precious stones for over a decade.
Spampinato said she remembers attending the first DIY show and enjoying her experience. This led to her applying and getting her own booth for subsequent events.
“I feel like shows like DIY and other local craft shows have enabled me to kind of put myself out there, which has had a huge impact on being able to make this a full-fledged business,” she said.
Spampinato said getting involved in DIY has helped grow her business and has turned what started as part-time jewelry making into something that is now her full-time business.
“It’s allowed me to build a clientele and a following and really get a holistic understanding of what my clients are looking for and what makes them happy,” she said. “It really helps to make it easier to follow and a lot of people want to follow their creative interests, but there’s something to be said for making all the effort to get yourself noticed and doing a live event like this, rather than just curating a website online, maybe having a Pinterest board for say. Like This can get you success, but I think there’s a certain kind of having annual events like this where people know what to expect and they’re going to find good stuff.”
The increase in business is also something Haimowitz-Clouse has seen, too.
“Doing DIY in 2017 really catapulted me into my career because I was able to turn it from a side hustle into a full-time job,” she said. “Now my husband and I do it full time. And we’ve really been able to grow a lot, and I really attribute that to DIY.”
In addition to the artist booths, there will also be live music, cocktails, and a variety of food trucks on site to attend.
Johnston said it’s a pleasure to be able to DIY sponsorships every year.
“We are supporters of small businesses, and this event … serves as an incubator for local entrepreneurs,” she said. “It’s great to be able to connect artists to the audience and the audience to the artists, especially with those kind of prices. So people usually come home with handfuls of their neighbors’ art.”
At the same time as the DIY Street Fair, the Funky Ferndale Art Fair will be taking place on West Nine Mile Road. For more information on both events, visit www.ferndalediy.com And the www.funkyferndaleartfair.com.
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