Events

By Sara E. Teller

THERE ARE MANY OPTIONS FOR RESIDENTS OF Huntington Woods, Berkley and the surrounding areas to get out and meet their neighbors by joining local clubs. The Huntington Woods Mens Club, Huntington Woods Womens League, Berkley Dads Club and Berkley Junior Womens Club are all long-standing nonprofits that offer fun activities, events, and fundraising opportunities throughout the year.

Huntington Woods Mens Club

THE HUNTINGTON WOODS MENS CLUB (HWMC) BEGAN IN 1977 with two dozen residents who were looking to establish a civic- minded group. Today, there are over 150 members who engage in multiple fundraising efforts and events such as the annual 4th of July parade.

“Our biggest event each year is the HWMC Service Auction,” president Michael Egnotovich explained. “This is held every March and 800 guests come to the Huntington Woods Recreation Center for food, drink and the chance to bid on over 400 auction items ranging
from $25 gift cards to an African safari.” He added, “We also coordinate an
annual cider sale with the Huntington Woods Women’s League every October and hold a raffle fundraiser for the city’s 4th of July fireworks display.”

The Club regularly raises over $150,000 at its auctions, with over $2,000,000 raised in total to date, and uses this money to fund local groups or city projects such as parks and equipment. Egnotovich said, “The Club has been making these contributions for over 35 years. We have also helped fund Berkley school district programs, such as offering concert wear for the BHS orchestra, raincoats for the marching band, and fabrication equipment for the Berkley Robotics team.”

The annual cost of membership is $75. Monthly meetings are held in members’ backyards during the summer and at indoor locations during the winter. For more information, please visit hwmc.org.

Huntington Woods Womens League

THE HUNTINGTON WOODS WOMENS LEAGUE (HWWL) STARTED IN 1970 with a mission to bring together women so that they can exercise their energies and abilities to benefit themselves and their community by promoting civic, cultural, educational and social welfare. The club meets the second Wednesday of every month at residents’ homes.

The HWWL hosts a number of events throughout the year, including a Ladies Night Out, cookie exchange, and Euchre parties, as well as fundraising efforts including an annual home tour and gala. Funds are donated to three major categories of recipients: community, education, and women and children’s interests.

Lynne Sullivan, who has been the club’s president for the past two years, said, “The home tour is our biggest fundraising event. We inherited it from the Library. Every year, there are five homes involved with a sixth reserved for the gala the night before the tour
begins.” Historically, this event, which takes place the first Sunday in June, has brought in 400-500 people with an increase in interest every year.

The HWWL currently has 45 members, and the annual dues are $35. For more information, visit hwwl.org.

Berkley Dads Club

THE BERKLEY DADS CLUB IS IN ITS 71ST YEAR, having started in 1948 with civic activities primarily focused on baseball, hockey, boxing and wrestling. Today, the focus of the club is on baseball with the organization attracting over 800 players every year and offering spring baseball, a travel club, and other related programs and clinics. Those affiliated with the Berkley School District can play in the summer league, including those enrolled in schools-of-choice.

“We get players from Royal Oak, Madison Heights, and even further out,” said President Mike Kerby, who was a player himself years ago and has been in his position for nine years.

The organization hosts a fundraising raffle every year, as well as Euchre parties, squares parties, and other events. The funds go towards parks and recreation initiatives, including improvements for existing facilities as well as the construction of new spaces.

“We donate to baseball fields and surrounding parks. We also put in a batting cage in Huntington Woods,” Kerby said.

For more information, visit berkleydadsclub.org or email berkleydadsclub1@gmail.com.

Berkley Junior Womens Club

BERKLEY JUNIOR WOMENS CLUB IS A NONPROFIT THAT STARTED with twelve members in 1985. The club’s mission is to develop and foster projects of civic betterment and promote leadership training and cooperative action among its members. It meets the third Wednesday of every month at the Berkley Community Center at 7:00 P.M.

“Our group engages in a variety of volunteering,” explained President Lisa Kempner. “The majority of it is local to Berkley, but we also participate in events outside of Berkley, such as Race for a Cure. We collaborate with a multitude of other non-profit organizations and city departments to help wherever we can.” She added, “Many of our events are a collaborative effort. We work with Berkley Parks & Recreation to put on Boofest, the Daddy-Daughter Dance, Mother-Son Fun Night, and Breakfast with the Bunny. We work with the Holiday Lights Parade Committee for the tree- lighting ceremony, and with the Downtown Development Authority in putting on the Robina Rhapsody concert series. We also work with the Berkley Days Association to sponsor an event during Berkley Days, and we sponsor Candy Cane Lane at the Berkley Community Center.”

The group offers an annual scholarship to a female Berkley High School student that demonstrates a high level of volunteerism, and each year, the club works with Berkley-Huntington Woods Youth Assistance to sponsor a family for Christmas and to send children to camp in the summer.

The club is open to women over the age of 21. There is a $20 membership fee. Those interested can attend a meeting or email berkleyjuniors@yahoo.com.

By Sara E. Teller

THE BERKLEY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HAS 150 MEMBERS IN BERKLEY, HUNTINGTON
WOODS, AND NORTH OAK PARK. Members include restaurants, retail stores, professional business services, real estate agents, financial, insurance, and legal services, education and health and wellness providers, non-profit organizations, auto care companies, home-based businesses, wedding service providers, salons, and more.

The Chamber and its members are dedicated to creating and sustaining a positive business climate by connecting with each other, local governments, and the community. Darlene Rothman, Executive Director, and RoseAnn Nicolai, Events & Operations Manager, have been with the Berkley Area Chamber since 2012.

“I’ve been the Executive Director for over seven years,” explained Rothman. “I was a Huntington Woods resident for over 27 years and was upset when the economy was affecting local businesses in Berkley. These businesses do a lot to support the community, and it was important for the community to support them during challenging times. When the job opportunity arose to work for the Berkley Area Chamber, I was excited to do what I could to help.”

Of her position, Nicolai said, “I have an event planning and association management company, and I have been a resident of Berkley since 1997. So, when an opportunity came up to work on events within the city where I live, I jumped at the opportunity. A year later the Chamber asked my company to take over the administrative tasks so Darlene could focus on recruiting new members and helping our current members.”

Understanding the importance of investing in local businesses, Nicolai added, “I believe having a thriving business community is an important component of making Berkley a great place to live. Local businesses are the ones who are more likely to donate to local causes and groups. They have an investment in the community. So, helping these businesses thrive is important.”

The Berkley Area Chamber is responsible for many fun, annual activities, some of which include:

THE BERKLEY ART BASH, the 2nd Saturday in June. Chaired by April McCrumb, owner of Catching Fireflies and Yellow Door Art, this fair attracts crowds of over RoseAnn Nicolai, Events 10,000 people who come to find hip handmade wares from over 150 artists and makers, listen to live music, eat great food, and participate in children’s activities.

THE BERKLEY STREET ART FEST, the second Saturday in July. Commissioned artists create murals on various spaces, and children and adults have the opportunity to create their own chalk art. Street performers and musicians are also there to entertain throughout the day.

THE BERKLEY PUB CRAWL, late August. This event highlights Berkley’s bars and restaurants.

THE STATE OF THE CITIES BREAKFAST, the 4th Friday in October. This event offers an opportunity for local government entities to report out to the community the accomplishments and issues from the past year as well as touch on what is forthcoming.

Rothman said, “As a team, we’ve increased the positive aspects of the community, so more [businesses] can grow and prosper. So many wonderful members go above and beyond to help create events, marketing concepts, and volunteer.”

The Chamber’s Board of Directors is grateful to all those who participate, companies and residents alike. Rothman said, “Most [members] are small business owners who do it all and still do what they can to help the greater good of the community. We have wonderful business owners, managers, and employees who create a warm and inviting atmosphere in Berkley and beyond.” She recognizes that residents also contribute to the Chamber’s mission, saying, “The residents are very loyal in supporting local businesses, which is what makes new businesses gravitate here. Strengthening downtown Berkley helps retain residents and attract new residents. Having the Berkley School District so strong is a major anchor to the entire mix. Public Safety makes sure the community is safe. It’s a win-win for all.”

The Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce offers Explore Berkley gift certificates to thirty local businesses, which can be purchased at berkleychamber.com and through the Berkley Education Foundation, berkleyedfoundation.org. Businesses and organizations can also join the Chamber and have access to all of its benefits by registering online. For more information, call 248.414.9157.

Photos By Ashley Poirer & Rich Young

The Berkley Street Art Fest started in 2017 and focuses on creating art in the streets of Berkley with chalk and murals. Bridget Mahrle, chair of the Berkley Street Art Fest committee, has worked with a committee of community volunteers, businesses and Chamber staff for the past three years to create this festival that takes place on the second Saturday in July.

On the second Saturday in June, the Art Bash shuts down 12 Mile Road between Kipling and Buckingham Avenues and over 150 artists and makers sell their products. April McCrumb, co- owner of Catching Fireflies and Yellow Door Market, founded the festival with photographer and former Chamber member Maureen Monte.

“Maureen did it for a few years and was moving on with her business, so she left me in charge. I was a good fit for the job. I did art fairs for many years and had connections with artists,” McCrumb says. “I took it on and grew it to what it is today. We started the first year with 50-to-70 artists and now are at 150.”

The free event attracts over 10,000 people each year and invites a variety of artists to appeal to visitors’ every interest, everything from jewelers and authors to candlemakers.

“WE TRY TO SEEK OUT DIFFERENT TALENT. WE GO TO A LOT OF ART FAIRS and find things that are appealing in price and style,” McCrumb says. “Everyone can come and bring a few treasures home without breaking the bank.”

The entertainment extends past art lovers to include fun for pets and kids too.

“We always want Art Bash to be family-friendly. We are very intentional about bringing in
inflatables, face painting, kids crafts – anything kids would enjoy,” McCrumb says. “We are pet- friendly too – you can bring your dog and vendors sell dog treats, collars, cat treats and infused catnip.”

McCrumb runs the Berkley Art Bash alongside RoseAnn Nicolai, events and operations manager for Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce, who is also involved in the Berkley Street Art Fest. Artists interested in participating can apply for the 2020 Art Bash starting January 1st at berkleyartbash.com.

“I presented the concept after discovering the West Michigan Chalk Art event. I felt it would be a wonderful event to bring to Berkley’s Coolidge Shopping District to bring more awareness to the new and established businesses,” Mahrle says. “Our first year was held in a newly-developed parking area behind Sugar Kisses, Peggendott Designs and Berkley Eyewear stores.” Darlene Rothman, Executive Director of the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce, visited other chalk festivals in Michigan to discover the best format for the Berkley community.

THE STREET ART FEST NOW DRAWS CROWDS OF OVER 6,000 and that success has led to the City shutting down Coolidge Hwy. from Catalpa to Wiltshire for the event. More than 30 chalk artists of varying levels of aptitude compete, and muralists create permanent pieces on walls throughout the Berkley Business District.

“To date, we have installed 18 permanent murals located throughout the City,” Mahrle says. “The Berkley Street Art Fest also has artists and other vendor booths, food trucks and family activities where attendees can create art.”

Vibe Credit Union, a major sponsor, presented the 2019 event. Atomic Dawg hosted the beer tent, a first for 2019, and flame-eating jugglers and other street entertainers performed. The event attracts world- famous artists including David Zinn, Ann Arbor-based 3D chalk artist, who has presented at each event since 2017.

“This year’s event was even more special because Berkley became one of six cities worldwide that has permanent artwork created by Zinn on local buildings; Balanced Health & Wellness and the Berkley Public Library,” Mahrle says.

For information about the 2020 event, visit www.berkleystreetartfest.com. Both the Street Art Fest and the Berkley Art Bash have helped to highlight the creative talents of Berkley residents and increase business for retailers and restaurants along two main intersections in the City.

By Steve Cooper, Director of Public Safety

Photos By Bennie White

THE OAK PARK DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY has always taken pride in providing the city with the best public safety services possible. We believe in our partnership with the community through sharing and exchanging ideas, building relationships, and working together to address challenges.

These efforts have been demonstrated through a number of community initiatives, such as:

  • The Oak Park Public Safety Citizens Academy.
  • The Oak Park Public Safety Ice Cream Truck.
  • Coffee-With-A-Cop.
  • The addition of a second Community Resource Officer.

The Oak Park Public Safety Citizen Academy is entering its fourth year and the demand for enrollment remains high. The Academy is a fiveweek class for the public held on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The academy is held twice a year (spring and summer). The Citizen Academy provides an excellent opportunity for residents to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day operations of a Public Safety Department. It is free for Oak Park residents 18 years of age and older.

The classes cover a number of interesting topics such as patrol and traffic operations, detective bureau and case investigations, police and firefighting equipment, criminal law and procedures, use of force and officer safety, crime scene investigations and forensics, firefighting and firetruck operations, medical first-response, radio dispatch and 911 operations.

There are no physical fitness requirements to enroll and all participation is strictly voluntary. Upon completion of the Academy, students are awarded a diploma during a graduation ceremony.

THE OAK PARK PUBLIC SAFETY ICE CREAM TRUCK is entering its third season and has become one of the favorite Public Safety initiatives among both the youth and the adults in the community. On several days throughout the spring and summer, officers can be seen driving through the neighborhoods in our ice cream truck handing out free ice cream. This has provided an outstanding opportunity for our Officers to have positive interactions with many members in the community. It is amazing how a small gesture, such as sharing ice cream, can put a smile on a person’s face. The experience is truly priceless.

None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support from several of our vendors in Oak Park. I would again like to thank Prairie Farms for donating three hundred units of ice cream per week, Quality Restaurant Equipment Masters for donating a large deep freezer to house the ice cream, Salient Sign Studio for providing the graphics for the Ice Cream Truck, and Autobahn Collision for the restoration work they performed on the truck. Also, our City Manager, Erik Tungate, and the Department of Public Works for donating the truck.

If you are in Oak Park this Spring and Summer, watch for the Oak Park Public Safety Ice Cream Truck in your area. It is often known to make surprise visits at various schools throughout the City as well as some City-sponsored events.

“COFFEE WITH A COP” HAS BECOME A VERY POPULAR community outreach initiative. Although the concept is not new, it is still a very good one. For almost a year now, the Oak Park Public Safety Department has partnered with numerous restaurants throughout the City to host “Coffee with a Cop.” This has provided the community an opportunity to meet at different restaurants and have informal conversations discussing many topics (community issues, upcoming events, sports, etc.) while enjoying a free cup of coffee. The citizens and the officers have an opportunity to become personally acquainted while conversing in a relaxed atmosphere. This event takes place bi-monthly on either Saturday or Sunday morning usually between the hours of 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM.

THE PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT has recently added a second Community Resource Officer, Robert Koch, who will work in conjunction with Officer Devin Benson. With the additional Community Resource Officer, we have been able to significantly impact our relationships with the many schools and students in Oak Park, senior citizens, and Block Clubs while continuing to address important needs within the community. The positive effect of an additional Community Resource Officer has been obvious and mentioned by numerous members within the community.

The entire Public Safety Department would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to the community for your unwavering love and support throughout the years. We continue our pledge to serve at the highest level the great citizens and businesses of Oak Park with honor and integrity.

By Adam J. O’Connor

HAZEL PARK ART FAIR RETURNS THIS AUGUST, bringing the family-friendly art fair with a variety of artwork to Green Acres Park for its eighth year. To be eligible for the Hazel Park Art Fair, works must be original and crafted by the artist. Vendors of mass-produced work will not be accepted.

The 2019 Hazel Park Art Fair includes a variety of local and regional fine art and craft art vendors. The work represented showcases oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings, pencil, ink, and marker illustration, wearable art, sculpture, photography, multi-media art, crafts, jewelry, ceramics, metalworking, textiles, house decor, poster art and more.

“The Hazel Park Arts Council tries its hardest to provide a welcoming environment to artists in our community and support our first-time vendors (some 20 percent of the registered artists have not presented at HPAF before) to make their first art fair a positive experience,” says Amy Aubry, Treasurer of the Hazel Parks Arts Council. “We are always looking for ways to include more art forms and art-based experiences every year. Last year we had a mural painted during the event by local artist Carl B. Oxley and a wood sculpture carved on-site by local artist Gabriel Totzke (Bear Claw Woodcraft).”

By showcasing local talent, art fairs such as the Hazel Park Art Fair benefit the community individually as well as through its many local nonprofit efforts. As the Arts Council is a licensed 501(c)(3) nonprofit, all donations are tax-deductible. The Hazel Park Arts Council is committed to furthering artistic and cultural initiatives within the community. This is achieved through a number of avenues, including advocating local artistic initiatives as well as collaborating with the annual Hazel Park Art Fair. Sponsorship information is available on the event’s website. Also, it’s worth noting that if you’re a 501(c)(3) organization you qualify for a free 10’x10’ booth space.

THERE WILL ALSO BE A VARIETY OF ENTERTAINMENT – including live demonstrations – throughout the weekend. “Entertainment will be a selection of local music and bands,” says Charlie Rysenga, Co-Chair of the Planning Committee. “Last year we had 15 performers including a very chill Tai Chi lesson on Sunday morning. On Sunday the 25th this year, we will also have the DIA on-site for a ‘Drop-in Workshop’ from 11:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M., where attendees will have the opportunity to make tambourines!”

“We also have a great selection of food trucks,” Rysenga adds, “including Nosh Pit – who serve amazing grilled cheese – out of Hamtramck. The Arts Council will also be selling a selection of local craft beer, cider and mead as a fundraiser to support our work in the community.”

The overall goal of the Hazel Park Arts Council is to bring art – in all its various forms – to the community, and to make art accessible to everyone. While Hazel Park may be only three square miles in size and boast a population of less than 20,000, its citizens are very involved and community-oriented. Many small businesses line the streets and much support has been shown to both the Arts Council and the Art Fair itself over the years. Its proximity to Ferndale and location bordering two counties make it a perfect destination for art enthusiasts and those who appreciate small businesses and handmade items.

The Hazel Park Art Fair takes place at Green Acres Park off of Woodward Heights between Hilton and I-75 on Saturday, August 24 from 11:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M. and on Sunday, August 25 from 11:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M. www.hpartfair.org.

JUNE 8
Berkley Art Bash
Presented by the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce

JULY 13
Berkley Street Art Fest
Presented by the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce

JULY 18
Couples Night Out & Robina Rhapsody
Presented by the Berkley DDA and the Berkley Junior Women’s Club

AUGUST 2
Art & About 1st Friday
Presented by the Berkley DDA

AUGUST 16
Berkley CruiseFest
Presented by the Berkley CruiseFest Committee

AUGUST 22
Robina Rhapsody & Downtown Sidewalk Sales
Presented by the Berkley Junior Women’s Club and the Berkley DDA

AUGUST 24
Berkley Pub Crawl
Presented by the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce

SEPTEMBER 6-7
County Oakland IrishFest
Presented by County Oakland IrishFest Committee

OCTOBER 17
Friends Night Out
Presented by the Berkley DDA

By: Jeff Milo, Circulation Specialist

Reading Collective

The Ferndale Library is once again joining the libraries in Berkley, Huntington Woods, and Oak Park to collaboratively host a quad-city book club known as The Reading Collective. If you’ve participated in Community Reads events in the past, like “Ferndale Reads,” then it’s essentially the same format: Patrons from these four libraries will each pick up a copy of (Ann Arborbased author) Lillian Li’s The Number One Chinese Restaurant. As each patron reads along at home, they can meet up with other readers in other communities throughout March and April at several events and programs to be hosted at each library. On Thursday, April 11 (7 P.M.), at the Berkley First (Church), all Reading Collective participants can meet the author, get their books signed, and hear about her process of writing this novel. Follow us on Facebook for updates.

Synthesizers in the Library

Musician Henry Birdseye is coming back for a second presentation that takes you deep into the world of analog synthesizers. Birdseye is eager to share his love of the history and development of this music-making technology. On Sunday, March 24, he’ll share his interest in oldschool analog modular synthesizers, bringing in his magnificent instrument, showing you how it works, and talking about the science and evolution of electronic musical creation. He’ll be joined by local musician/ songwriter Steve Greene (of Voyag3r).

First Stop Friday

Poetic lyricist and “think piece” composer Chris DuPont comes to the Ferndale Library on April 1, part of the ongoing monthly First Stop Friday series. Dupont hails from Ypsilanti, Michigan, and is a seasoned veteran of the Midwest music scene, with several tours logged and a handful of albums that you can sample online. His hybrid finger-style approach to guitar-playing is a nod to classical minimalism, but creates delicate melodies that are sure to get you nodding your head. Chris is influenced by a wide range of artists and composers from Philip Glass to Tycho, from James Taylor to Ryan Adams to Oh Wonder. These free concerts are made possible by the Friends of the Ferndale Library. Doors open at 7:30 P.M. on April 1, with music starting at 8 P.M.

Native Plants

A member from the Ferndale Beautification Commission and the Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge Gardeners online group will be here on April 14 to give a presentation on Native Plants. The Ferndale/PR social media group that he represents is an outlet for gardeners in the area to find educational programming. This is the first of a three-part series; the next presentation will be May 19. Native plants not only provide habitats for birds and other wildlife, but they require far less water, which conserves resources (and lowers your water bill). You’ll find more updates on our Facebook page.

Crafternoon

Stop in on Saturday, April 20, at 2:00 P.M., to hang out with fellow crafters. Come with your current project and the stuff you need to work on it, or start something new. Enjoy hanging out and making with other crafters. We have plenty of tables and electrical outlets.

Art in the Library

On your way in or out of the library, make sure to peek inside of our Community Room. We regularly host six-to-eight week exhibitions of local artists, with up to eight unique shows throughout the year. Our next one will be on display starting March 24.

1000 Books Before Kindergarten

The Ferndale Library’s “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program is a fun DIY way for parents to cultivate kindergarten readiness. Participants are eligible right up until the day they start kindergarten, so that includes toddlers, but also babies. For every 100 books, kids receive a prize from librarians in the Kids Corner. 

Ferndalelibrary.org

On Facebook: @ferndalepubliclibrary

SAT-SUN JUNE 8-9 | DOWNTOWN ROYAL OAK

The Art of Fire: Clay, Glass, Metal

ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S 50 FAVORITE ART FAIRS, the Royal Oak Clay Show started 25 years ago as a project of the Oakland Community College. It was a cool and eclectic event. We’re told that artists would show up the morning of the show and choose their spot from what was left. No jury or curation. The only rule was that everything had to be made out of clay. 

By 2000, the ownership of the show had transferred to the Royal Oak Chamber and they were interested in updating it into a juried art fair. A group of artists met and decided that they should add glass art to the mix. After all, they were quite similar, and it would add some variety to the show. Other than experimenting with music and layout the show stayed pretty consistent from then until 2009 when the group decided to add metal.

Metal was a popular addition. The focus remained on art created with flame and all three mediums lent themselves to dramatic demonstrations. Sunshine Artist Magazine designated the show one of the top 100 nationwide in 2010. A few years later Art Fair Calendar designated it a top 50 show.

Last year the show committee decided that it was once again time to refresh the show. The new name, Art of Fire, emphasized what makes this show unique. The show doubled down on demonstrations and hands on activities, with dramatic flame-filled action. A group of fire performers added related entertainment. Each of these areas will be returning, and there will be more and larger demonstrations. This year the plan is to add in more hands-on project activities for those that want to experiment in these mediums.

THE SHOW IS STILL TRUE TO ITS ROOTS of showcasing artists from across the country. Some new attendees start out wondering how there can be 120 artists in just three mediums without many things looking similar. They come away impressed by all the ways that minerals and flame can play out in functional and decorative art.

The Art of Fire is June 8-9 on Washington Street in downtown Royal Oak. Show hours are 10 AM until 7 PM on Saturday and 11 AM until 5 PM on Sunday. Admission and demonstrations are free as are many of the hands on art projects. Some projects have a small fee. Juried artists will be selling functional items such as mugs, glasses and jewelry as well as decorative art, with everything focused on the clay, glass and/or metal elements. More information is at www.artoffirero.com.

FRI-SUN | SEPT 20-22 | DOWNTOWN FERNDALE

Funky Ferndale Art Fair

By Eve Doster

FERNDALE’S DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY describes the city’s commercial district as a place that “continues to exceed expectations and maintain the economic vitality of the district.” It’s no surprise then, that the DDA has such a longstanding relationship with the Funky Ferndale Art Fair, a popular annual juried art fair that celebrates its sixteenth anniversary in Downtown Ferndale this year.

Funky Ferndale has had nearly two decades to perfect the signature “edginessmeets- high-end-art” mien that has made it a popular destination for art fair fans, families, and serious art collectors alike. It has become a mainstay in the evolving Downtown Ferndale festival scene; and, not unlike the DDA who helps to make it all possible, Funky Ferndale has exceeded original expectations.

“When we first started off, we just wanted to bring original artwork to the people of Ferndale, who we’ve always considered culturally curious and progressive,” says event producer Mark Loeb of Integrity Shows. “We feel a strong bond with folks from this community.”

The event’s continued success has made it one of the more competitive art fairs in the region–which means that the 100 (or so) artists who are handpicked to show are selected from hundreds of submissions from independent artists from all over the United States.

The artwork ranges in scope, medium and price; which makes it ideal for art lovers searching for everything from rare Halloween decorations and handmade holiday gifts, to serious buyers looking to grow their fine art collections. It’s a fun and easy way to support independent art and an even better way to meet the artists themselves.

AND WHILE FUNKY FERNDALE’S JURORS ARE CHARGED with handpicking a broad spectrum of the most interesting art they can—make no mistake, this is one art event that does not take itself too seriously. In addition to the affable nature of event organizers themselves, Funky Ferndale is not afraid to get a little weird. Take for example past-featured artists like the Florida man who handcrafted Australian wind instruments called digeridoos or Zachariah Ribera, a creative thinker who made art from molted spider skins.

“We really take into account whether or not the artwork is ‘funky,’” says juror Kelly O’Neill. “It’s the lens through which the all the selections are made.” To be sure, attendees appreciate the opportunity to buy one-of-a-kind art that they can’t find anywhere else. And in some cases, it’s precisely the reason they come back year after year.

“I always do early Christmas shopping here because I know I can buy my friends and family gifts they’ll love and feel good about receiving,” says Funky Ferndale Art Fair patron, Amy Surdu of Detroit. “There’s an intangible value to buying gifts that were made by hand and with passion.”

Indeed, it’s no mistake that Loeb selected Downtown Ferndale as the place to hold his “funky” event all those years ago…and it’s no mystery why he remains. “Ferndale is an eclectic and unusual town that deserves a more interesting art fair,” Loeb says. “We believe that art shouldn’t just sit there looking pretty, it should invite conversation.”

The Funky Ferndale Art Fair is Friday, September 20 – Sunday, September 22 in Downtown Ferndale. Hours are Friday 3-7 P.M.; Saturday 10 A.M.-7 P.M.; and Sunday 11 A.M.-6 P.M.

Deadline for artists to apply is Friday, May 17, 2019. Online applications available at: bit.ly/ApplyFFAF19 

SAT JUNE 22 | THE FRONT PORCH | ALL OVER FERNDALE

By Sara Teller

EACH YEAR, THE FRONT PORCH FESTIVAL BRINGS FERNDALE RESIDENTS TOGETHER for a day of music on neighborhood porches with a variety of bands playing an eclectic mix of tunes. Planning for this year’s event is well underway. “We are looking to have a porch this year dedicated to children’s music,” said Michael Benghiat, its founder and executive producer. “Additionally, we are always looking at components outside of music such as comedy or spoken word on porches in between performances.”

He added, “From day one we’ve always explored how we can extend the Front Porch brand and the event past the 6:00 P.M. cutoff into the downtown area.” The idea would be for merchants and venues to host music well into the night. Benghiat called the concept “kind of like a Front Porch at Nite.”

This summer, the line-up is also set to expand. “The first two years we focused on just getting the event under our legs. This year, however, we just may accomplish something like this,” Benghiat explained. “Last year we had twenty-seven porches and fifty-seven performances. This year, if we choose, we can have as many as thirty-five porches” which would equate to seventy performances. However, he said there is a need to “try to keep the footprint as tight as possible so that attendees can easily get from porch-to-porch and see as much music as possible.”

There will be some return acts from the first two years as well as new entertainment with submissions being received from bands all over Michigan. Benghiat said, “While the concept of music on porches fits so well with the folk, singer songwriter and Americana genres, we have submissions from performers labeling themselves as powerpop, blues, jazz, classical, gospel, house/dance/EDM, worldbeat improv, hip-hop, funk instrumental, modern country and more.”

In addition to planning the festival, The Front Porch television show is still in the works. “We’re still working on the production of a potential show, which may not necessarily be on a TV platform per se,” Benghiat said. “The most important component needed, of course, is funding. We’re still seeking the needed funding to produce a ten-to-thirteen-episode series.” 

Benghiat is pleased with the success of the first two events and is thankful for the support received. “Enough cannot be said for the tremendous support we receive from Ferndale residents to lend us their porches that are turned into stages for the day and all the artists and performers for their willingness to participate,” he said. “And, we so appreciate our partnership and collaboration with the City of Ferndale and police.”

For more information, check out www.thefrontporchmi.com.

 

SAT-SUN JUNE 1-2 | PALMER PARK

Palmer Park Art Fair

DETROIT’S PALMER PARK hosts one of the area’s most beautiful boutique art fairs on June 1-2. The artist tents are in a serpentine pattern winding near the lake and up to the log cabin. This creates a relaxed environment inviting shoppers to take their time and explore. The jurors for this show tend to select artists that enhance that calm atmosphere, though there certainly are some of the edgier Detroit artists participating. The show features over 60 professional artists from across the region and also includes more emerging artists than just about any other juried art fair. Mint Artists Guild, the teen art program that has a small presence at the Funky Ferndale Art Fair features as many as fourteen teens in a group tent. The Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club adds another ten adult emerging artists. Breakfast Club tent participants are new to art fairs and include artists in their twenties and others close to seventy. This year the fair adds an authors’ tent, featuring area writers. Food trucks and a beer tent round out the offerings. The art fair is June 1st and 2nd. Saturday hours are 10 AM-7 PM, Sunday 11 AM-5 PM. Free parking is available in area lots and along Merrill Plaisance. To get to the art fair head south on Woodward and take the first right, about 3/4 mile south of Seven Mile. Information and artists lists are at PalmerParkArtFair.com. 

 

SAT-SUN JUNE 22-23 | ST MARY’S ORCHARD LAKE

Fine Art Fine Wine Fair

THE FINE ART FINE WINE FAIR WILL BE HAPPENING AGAIN at St Mary’s June 22-23, featuring dozens of juried fine artists with one-of-a-kind exquisitely crafted works. Artists from many states participate and display works of painting, mixed-media, fiber art, drawing, jewelry, sculpture, and many more categories. We will also have wine tasting tickets available so that you can enjoy your art shopping experience while tasting an amazing variety of wines. For details visit FineArtFineWineFair.com. The Grosse Pointe Art Fair will also be returning for its second year to the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club May 18-19 in partnership with the Great Lakes Boating Festival, which has free admission and free parking at the high school with a complimentary shuttle. For more information visit GrossePointeArtFair.com. 

By David Ryals

EACH SUMMER, FERNDALE KICKS OFF SUMMER WITH A PRIDE FEST THAT STRETCHES UP AND DOWN 9 MILE. There’s no better place to host an inclusive and colorful Pride Fest than Ferndale. The city’s Pride draws more than 25,000 attendees for an entire day of sponsors, street vendors, LGBTQ+ performances and celebratory energy. 

Ferndale Pride strives to recognize and promote pride for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and asexual and ally communities, working with residents, businesses, community groups, and all segments of the community to welcome and promote the celebration of diversity and the celebration of Ferndale. 

Julia Music, the head organizer and all-out genius behind Ferndale Pride, gave Ferndale Friends a preview of what to expect at this year’s event. “Ferndale Pride is on June 1st this year and there are lots of exciting plans for Ferndale pride 2019. One thing people can look forward to is our weddings at the Rust Belt. We have availability for up to six couples to get married throughout the day in the beautiful space within the Rust Belt. To sign up for weddings go to the website and click the registration link.”

Julia is planning with precision consideration this year to make sure the weather, whatever it may be, will not be a factor for certain festivities. “Moving the weddings indoors gives us the opportunity to make sure that weather doesn’t factor into anyone’s special day. Using the Rust Belt Market gives participants a beautiful background, a cash bar, and a premium event space at a very reasonable price. We are also looking at expanding the children’s area to have a few more fun interactive events for the children. Most importantly, we’re working with the library and several businesses to create events all over the city of Ferndale in the month of June.”

Metro Detroit is very fortunate to have two pride festivals, both Ferndale and Motor City in Detroit, but there are a few differences between them that Julia clarified. “Both events are wonderful days of celebration. Our event is a little bit different because it happens in a downtown. Bars, restaurants and stores all get in on the fun. Patrons can support the businesses that support LGBTQAI-inclusivity every single day of the year. In addition, we also donate money to local nonprofits. To this date we donated over $145,000 to five charities. It is our continued hope that Ferndale pride is the most inclusive LGBTQAI event in the state of Michigan. We want to make sure that it is a great day for Ferndale businesses and guests of the event.”

“We have many volunteers who go above and beyond to make sure this event happens. Shawn Starkey works on logistics, Mayor Pro Tem Greg Pawlica does all of our finance, AG Phoenix is in charge of IT, Andrew Shankles helps us with fundraising and there are many more on our committee and at the day of the event who make Ferndale Pride happen.” 

www.ferndalepride.com

 

SAT JUNE 1 | 10 AM – NOON | FERNDALE LIBRARY

Rainbow Run

LOVE PRIDE? LOVE YOUR COLORS? Love your flags? Then wear your rainbows with PRIDE and sign up for the 7th annual RAINBOW RUN! Celebrate diversity and acceptance on June 1st by kicking off Ferndale Pride weekend with a 5K run/walk through the streets of Ferndale! Earn your celebratory libations and foods with a little run in the morning. This year’s Run will feature rainbow socks. No more messy paint! Awards will be given for first and last place and the runner who wears their rainbow best! Dress for the occasion, warm up with Ensoul Yoga and be ready for fun along the route. Sign up at getlocalhop.com/rainbow-run-2019 or contact: info@ferndalechamber.com. ■