Detroit event “Dally in the Alley” attracts students to the city

Monday, September 12, 2016 - 3:47pm

Detroit gave its own meaning to the word dally — which means to move or act slowly — during its largest annual street fair and music festival in support of the Cass Corridor community, the Dally in the Alley, on Saturday night.

The event is sponsored and organized by the North Cass Community Union . Proceeds from Dally events are used to support North Cass projects aimed at improving the quality of life for people who live and work in the neighboring areas. Projects previously funded by Dally include environmental litigation against the Detroit Trash Incinerator, Detroit soup kitchen improvements and plowing in the winter for local residents.

The event took place in the Cass Corridor, spanning just a few blocks and corresponding alley. It included more than 40 bands and performances, 10 food vendors and a variety of non-food vendors selling crafts from handmade bottle openers to classic vinyl.

Steve St. Germain, Dally public relations and marketing chair, said Dally focuses on celebrating Detroit culture.

“We focus on Detroiters, the Corridor and keeping it local,” he said. “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.”

The event is also free of charge, which was a draw for University of Michigan students who attended the event, like Engineering sophomore Matt Haining. He said he enjoyed learning about the city and what it has to offer for students.

“The event is a great way for University students to explore Detroit and the local businesses and opportunities available to students in the city,” he said.

Bolstered by a strong 2015 turnout of nearly 60,000 attendees, the NCCU has consistently turned away any corporate sponsorship, aiming to maintain its local roots.

“We turn away corporate business — we look to stay to our homegrown pride by utilizing local businesses,” St. Germain said. “Any money that is profit from the event goes straight back into the NCCU.”

Business sophomore Logan Ziegler, a lifetime annual attendee of Dally, said his favorite aspect of the event is what he called its "low-key environment" and "real vibes."

“To me (Dally) is an extremely genuine expression of Detroit, and is one of the few traditions alive in the city,” he said. “It shows a beautiful side of Detroit that everyone, especially U of M students, should see.”