Detroit’s premier street party was this past Saturday. It’s called Dally in the Alley, and it’s been held continuously for 37 years. The one-day event takes place in a series of alleys and streets that have been cornered off in the city’s Cass Corridor area near Wayne State University. The annual free event features four stages of continuous music, as well as a bunch of vendors selling art, t-shirts, clothing, vinyl records, and plenty of food and drinks.
The alleys and surrounding streets (bounded by Hancock, Forest, Second and Third Avenues) were jammed packed with thousands of people. Families, college students, aging hippies, artists, and many others were all there having a good time listening to the music and wandering through the alleys checking out what the vendors had to sell. It’s a diverse, interesting crowd that attends the annual party, making for a great day of people watching.
The street party runs to midnight and it seemed the later it got, more and more people flowed into the already crowded streets and alleys. Around 10 p.m. there were some fireworks. Not the usual 4th of July type stuff. A utility pole in the center of the alleys started popping. The pole caught on fire and the fire was followed by sparks and loud, bright explosions.
Luckily organizers spotted the fire before the explosions took place and were able to herd people out of the area before the Detroit fire department arrived. It was surreal standing there watching, especially when about sixty percent of the people around me automatically pulled out their iPhones to record what was going on.
Because of the imminent danger of falling wires, the Dally in the Alley party was cut short much to the chagrin of attendees, vendors and the bands that were scheduled to perform. Based on past Dally’s, I thought the fire was some sort of torch and part of the happenings. It’s always an interesting event, and this year’s was no exception.