Funky Ferndale Art, DIY street fairs return to downtown this weekend


Tens of thousands are expected to turnout for a pair of three-day street fairs in downtown Ferndale starting Friday.

The Funky Ferndale Art Fair began in Ferndale 19 years ago, while the DIY Street Fair is now in its 15th year in the city.

Krista Johnson, co-founder and artist director for the DIY Street Fair that takes place on Nine Mile Road east of Woodward, said she expects about 75,000 people to turn out over the three days.

“We have 150 artists this year and about 40 percent of them are new to the DIY Street Fair,” Johnson said. “We also have a ton of the old favorites, but the event is very fresh with exciting new artists.”

The street fair takes place between East Nine Mile Road and East Troy Street behind Woodward Avenue Brewers and The Emory.

Music and food round out the fair’s activities. Food options include offerings from House of Mac, Detroit BBQ, Real Taco Express, Little Lou’s Shredderz and others.

“We’ll have a weekend full of great music and food trucks,” Johnson said.

Among the performers are Ted Leo, PJ Western, and Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers.

DIY enthusiasts embrace the unique and eclectic over the crafts and arts that are more mainstream.

The DIY Street Fair brings out a variety of people with the do-it-yourself spirit and they love to support artists and bands,” Johnson said.

Many attendees have started doing holiday shopping at the event.

“We are known for the quality of the artists and the affordability of the artists’ works,” Johnson said. 

Among those offerings are handmade jewelry, original paintings, fashion cloths and ceramics, she added.

“Everything has its own unique twist to it,” Johnson said, “and it’s not work you find at your typical art fair. We are known for our clever and creative makers.”
More information on the free fair, along with its hours, is on its website at

On the west side of Woodward Avenue, the Funky Ferndale Art Fair bills itself as “twice as funky as the average fine art fair” with juried artists.

The event’s producer, Mark Loeb, said his event features 130 artists, more than ever before in the annual Funky Ferndale Art Fair’s nearly two decades in the city 

“The Detroit Institute of Arts is returning to do art projects,” he said, “and we’re doing a chalk mural and we’ll have 30 authors.”

A large chalk mural that attendees can contribute to is planned for a space on Troy Street.

Among the artists, David Zinn is also an author.

Zinn of Ann Arbor has published books on street art and done his chalk drawings everywhere from his hometown to as far away as Sweden and Taiwan.

He draws whimsical cartoon characters within streetscapes that appear to be three dimensional.

Zinn “has achieved global notoriety through sharing on the pages of Facebook, Instagram, Huffington Post, Graffiti Art Magazine, Bored Panda, Central China Television, Street Art Utopia, and Archie McPhee’s Endless Geyser of Awesome,” according to his website at

“David Zinn will be doing a chalk installation” in Ferndale, Loeb said. “It’s the art fair for people who didn’t know they love art fairs. We focus on the nontraditional images. It’s not the kind of stuff that sits on a shelf or wall and blends in. It’s stuff that invites conversations.”

Artists from across the country bring their works to the show, which include pieces in all mediums from painting to sculpture, jewelry, mixed media, fiber, clay, and functional art.

Loeb said he is struck by the openness of people in Ferndale.

“The people who come here are an incredibly diverse group,” he said. “They are insanely accepting of whoever shows up, regardless of how they are dressed or made up. It’s unusual to see people who are passionate about a whole city.”

More details, including hours for the Funky Ferndale Art Fair at

The art show is the top attraction for art in the region, said Sommer Realy, engagement manager for the city’s Downtown Development Authority.

“It’s really a complement to everything our businesses do and the fun and celebration of the arts  brings a lot of positive energy that fills the streets,” she said.

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