DIY Street Fair, in 14th year, to hold its biggest event ever

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published September 21, 2022

 Windy Woods, of Warren, stands at her booth at last year’s DIY Street Fair, where she sold stickers and pins.

Windy Woods, of Warren, stands at her booth at last year’s DIY Street Fair, where she sold stickers and pins.

File photo by Deb Jacques

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FERNDALE — Organizers expect East Nine Mile Road to be filled to the brim with people for the 14th annual DIY Street Fair.

The DIY Street Fair will take place Sept. 23-25 on East Nine Mile and East Troy Street. The hours for the event are 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, Sept. 23; 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday, Sept. 24; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25.

Event co-founder Krista Johnston called this year’s DIY Street Fair the biggest one that’s ever been put on, with more than 150 artists and shop owners participating, almost half of whom are new to the fair.

The inclusion of many new artists is something Johnston said is always by design, as there’s always a minimum of 40% new artists at DIY. This year, the number of new artists is at 44% ,and there was a record waitlist for those looking to participate.

“Especially with the number of artists being so large, we always try to keep it fresh but … we have the old favorites for sure,” she said. “This year, it happens to be the highest number of new artists to DIY. Hopefully, it’s mostly because people want to be in the show, and I think everybody is kind of feeling creative again and being back in business post-pandemic.”

A returning store to DIY this year is Brave Wimp, owned by Melissa Haimowitz-Clouse, of Oak Park. Haimowitz-Clouse runs her shop, which started in 2017 at the Rust Belt Market and sells what she called “eco-conscious and inclusive top art goods” made from wood sourced in the Midwest. The goods are everything from pins and earrings to coloring books, candles and apparel.

DIY was the first show Haimowitz-Clouse ever participated in five years ago, and she’s been a part of it since.

“I would say I like doing DIY for the same reasons I like having my business in the Rust Belt Market: It’s really community-focused and the excitement in supporting local businesses and … engaging in my community,” she said. “It’s the back and forth of being with the people because everyone’s excited to be there and to participate in supporting businesses, whether that’s the artists or the food trucks — just the whole event around it has great energy.”

Yvonne Spampinato and her business, KEPT, also will be returning to DIY for her 11th year. The Oak Park resident has been making jewelry with brass and semiprecious stones for more than a decade.

Spampinato said she remembers attending the first DIY show and enjoying her experience. It led to her applying and getting her own booth for subsequent events.

“I feel like shows like DIY and other local craft shows enabled me to kind of put myself out there, which had a huge influence on being able to make this a full-fledged business,” she said.

Participating in DIY, said Spampinato, has helped increase her business and turned what started as making jewelry part time into something that’s now her full-time business.

“It allowed me to build a clientele and a following and have a really thorough understanding of what my clientele is looking for and what brings them joy,” she said. “It really helps facilitate a following and just that a lot of people want to pursue their creative interest, but there’s something to be said about actually going through all the efforts to put yourself out there and do a live in-person event like this, as opposed to just curating an online website and, like, maybe having a Pinterest board. Like that can bring you success, but I think there’s a certain je ne sais quoi of having these annual events like this where people would know what to expect and they’re gonna find good stuff.”

The increase in business also is something that Haimowitz-Clouse has seen, as well.

“Doing DIY in 2017 really propelled my career because I was able to turn it from a side hustle into a full-time job,” she said. “Now it’s me and my husband doing it full-time. And we’ve really been able to grow so much, and I really attribute that to DIY.”

In addition to the artists’ booths, there also will be live music, cocktails and an assortment of food trucks on-site for attendees

Johnston said it’s a pleasure to be able to curate DIY each year.

“We’re such supporters of small businesses and this event … serves as an incubator for local entrepreneurs,” she said. “It’s wonderful to be able to connect artists to audience and audience to artists, especially with this type of price point. So people usually are walking home with fistfuls of their neighbors’ art.”

At the same time as the DIY Street Fair, the Funky Ferndale Art Fair will be held on West Nine Mile Road. For more information on both events, visit www.ferndalediy.com and www.funkyferndaleartfair.com.