One of Detroit’s greatest traditions, Dally in the Alley, is back once again for its 37th anniversary, this Saturday, September 6th! Celebrate life and the arts in one of Detroit’s most culturally rich neighborhoods. Dally festivities start at 11am and end at 11pm – oh, and did we mention, admission is free?

Delicious food and local music are only part of Dally in the Alley’s mission, though. At each year’s Dally, 100% of proceeds support the North Cass neighborhood. Cool, right?

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Here’s a little history lesson. The North Cass Community Union (NCCU) – the force behind this highly-anticipated annual festival – formed as a non-profit organization in 1977 to prevent the removal of the historic buildings within the North Cass neighborhood. To help raise funds (and awareness) for this special local community, the NCCU started hosting what is now the annual “Dally in the Alley.” Thirty-seven years later, it’s still going strong!

Detroit Proud caught up with Adriel Thornton, Director of Dally in the Alley, to talk about this year’s event and to see what’s in store for this weekend. Check it out!

For those new to Dally in the Alley – tell us what this event is all about!

Our goal is simply to provide Detroiters an opportunity to come down, hang out, and have a really good time. Dally showcases the North Cass neighborhood along with a variety of local musicians, artists, food, and retail vendors. We are excited about the expanded Kid Zone this year, there is really something here for everyone.

In the past, Dally has worked hard to support the local community. What are some efforts currently planned or that are on deck for the near future?

Dally is a fundraiser that benefits the NCCU and is completely volunteer-driven. The proceeds go to a cause or a project within the neighborhood. After the event, we have people bring ideas of different ways we can help the community…and if it makes sense, we’ll do it. Recently we’ve supported the greenways and walkways in the neighborhood and helped provide lighting within the community.

With so many moving parts, what goes into putting together an event like Dally?

This event is 100% volunteer-driven. It’s great because that means everyone wants to be here and contribute, they’re here because of their love and commitment to the event. Everyone works well as a group, we hold ourselves accountable to Dally principals and honoring the past Dallys. We feel we owe our best effort to past organizers, and I feel that’s one of the reasons Dally has existed so long. We put our soul into it.


Dally in the Alley

(credit: Daniel Berhane)

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How were the musical acts selected for the event?

There were over 300 acts that applied to perform at Dally. It was the most entries in the history of the event and our Music Committee listened to every single one. We try to select a wide range of genres that will perform at Dally so there is something for everyone to enjoy. This also makes it a great place to discover new bands. We try to select bands that fit the vibe of Dally.

What makes Dally in the Alley such a unique experience?

It’s a true representation of Detroit. It’s a place to go where everyone is accepting of who you are – age, race, sexual orientation, it all doesn’t matter, it’s a special event where everyone comes together. It’s really a challenge to stand on the stage and describe the crowds of people because it’s such an assorted collection of Detroiters. Dally offers such a variety of music and vendors that it attracts such a diverse crowd. That vibe makes it special.

Dally in the Alley

(credit: Daniel Berhane)

What’s special about the North Cass Community?

The whole Cass Corridor – Midtown neighborhood is just so unique, it’s diverse and funky. The flavor in this area is something you cannot find in other parts of Detroit, and it’s authentic. It really feels like you’re in a big city, the neighborhood has so much to offer. It’s walkable with so many things to do.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with Detroit Proud readers about Dally in the Alley?

The event is free to attend. Local artist Ron Zakrin did an awesome job with this year’s poster. Keeping with the tradition of unique Dally posters of the past, I think this year’s poster turned out great. The proceeds from the food and vendor sales go directly back into the neighborhood. So, come down to check out the artwork, music, the delicious food…and responsibly have a few beers!

We’d like to thank Adriel and the team of Dally organizers for putting together such a great event…hope to see everyone at Dally in the Alley this Saturday. If it rains on Saturday, have no fear! Dally will be moved to Sunday. Information about Dally in the Alley, the NCCU, the music lineup, and more can be found HERE…plus check out their Facebook page!

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2014 Dally in the Alley Poster