In a neighborhood that's always evolving, the first Saturday after Labor Day each year has been a constant. Dally in the Alley marks its 39th year in the Cass Corridor on Saturday, Sept. 10, bringing together Detroiters and celebrating the heart of a community.
The North Cass Community Union, or NCCU, is the brains behind the festival.
"We focus on Detroiters, the Corridor, and keeping it local," says Dally spokesman Steve St. Germain. "Trying to keep it local and as close to its original roots is our main priority, and the whole goal of the festival is to better the community."
Throughout the years, Dally has seen massive growth, from the amount of vendors that flock to sell goodies to the bands who submit their music for a consideration in the live entertainment lineup. With submissions coming from all over, the NCCU takes time to make sure that each act that's picked will showcase the best of Detroit, St. Germain says.
"This year, we had over 250 submissions from local artists to play the festival — the most we've ever received," St. Germain says. "We also take the time to listen to every artists that submits to play. It's a long process, but we want to make sure that every act is taken into consideration."
After the 2014 Dally — which was evacuated after a transformer fire in the alley — the 2015 edition was the largest festival yet, St. Germain says: "We completely sold out of beer, which was a first, and the amount of support we gained from the community was amazing."
The festival is tweaked each year, and one change in 2016 is at Hancock and Third, where the electronic stage usually sits. Now, there will be an extended seating area in its place, in response to feedback from visitors. Electronic acts will still be performing at Dally, but they will be spread across all stages.
The decision to rotate electronic artists was made due to a need for more space for visitors to sit and eat, St. Germain says.
Another addition this year: a bike valet at Second and Prentis will be available during the festival, courtesy of Metropolis Bikes.
This year's food vendors include Amicci's Pizza, Union Street, Delectabowl, Majestic Cafe, Full Course Catering, Detroit Shrimp and Fish, Sweet Susan Tarts, Russell Street Deli, SnoBiz Detroit, and Mario's.
In addition to music and vendors, this year's fair includes live art installations and a fashion show with participation from local clothing companies.
During the day, a family friendly kids fair caters to younger Dally visitors; look for a one-of-a-kind coloring book featuring designs from local artists.
The 2015 Dally poster and T-shirt were designed by painter and Destroy All Monsters vocalist Niagara; this year's design is soon to be announced.
Another constant at Dally: It's an all-volunteer event, and the NCCU refuses to take money from corporate sponsors, St. Germain says.
"We turn away corporate business — we look to stay to our homegrown pride by utilizing local businesses, and any money that is profit from the event goes straight back into the NCCU."
Dally in the Alley is from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10 in the block bounded by Forest and Hancock and Second and Third in Detroit. Visit dallyinthealley.com for more information.