FLINT, Michigan — Look for Alley Fest to be even more of a party this year. The 9th annual festival will span the core of downtown Flint feature 20 local bands and performances; 40 local arts, crafts and T-shirt vendors; and 10 food and ice cream trucks.
Changing to a fully enclosed festival — including Buckham Alley and portions of First and Saginaw streets — will give Alley Fest a bit more of a New Orleans feel, said Emily Doerr, a board member for Friends of the Alley. The festival includes four stages this year and the entire area is included in the liquor license (allowing attendees who are over 21 years old to carry and consume alcohol from stage to stage and throughout the area).
The free festival runs from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Entry points are located at First Street and Saginaw, Saginaw and Second Street, and at Buckham Alley near the Rutherford Parking Garage. The festival will also events for all ages in Brush Park.
In the past, alcohol was limited to adjacent restaurant patios, which were often at capacity. The change this year adds additional convenience and a Friends of the Alley Bar on First Street, Doerr said, but the core of the festival remains the same: Creating an all-ages event that celebrates Flint and its iconic lighted alleys while highlighting local talent.
"I love this about Flint. I really think that we are proud of our ability to have local people and not a bunch corporate, non-local vendors,” said Doerr. “I think there’s a really big pride in that locally-owned, local talent, local vision, local leadership.”
Look for stages at both ends of Buckham Alley with local musicians including Big Donut, Werewolves, and Sway Montoya performing from 4-9 p.m.
A third stage is located on Saginaw Street. The Square Stage will host a fashion show coordinated by local creative Kala Wilburn and featuring seven local designers at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Between shows, the stage also will host dance performances and DJ sets.
The fourth stage, located in Brush Park just behind the Mott Foundation Building, will offer a more leisurely, blanket-on-the-lawn experience with acoustic performances from the likes of John Rice, Jason Waggoner, and Katie Stanley from 4-7 p.m. Brush Park is catering to families and will also include an animal petting and adoption area by a local animal rescue group.
Overall, the goal was to have entertainment that would appeal to a variety of ages and bring people together who don’t often share the same space, Doerr said. Diversity of place, people, and talent are guiding principles that lead the development of each year’s Alley Fest, Doerr said.
"I love seeing skateboarders and then people that I know that are lawyers in the Mott Foundation building Monday through Friday and seeing those people show up with their kids,” said Doerr. “I love seeing this wide variety of people who all feel welcomed and are all interested — and all care about Flint."
For more information, check out FriendsOfTheAlley.org
Sponsors of Friends of the Alley include Consumers, Fabiano Bros., Flintside, Greater Flint Arts Council, Kettering University, Landaal Packaging, The Loft, Mott Community College, Sectorlink, Skypoint Ventures/Ferris Wheel, Square, The Torch, University of Michigan Flint, and local attorneys Heather Burnash, Barbara Dawes, George and Alex Hamo, Jessica Hammon, Linda Pylypiw, and John Tosto.
For questions, sponsorship information, or to volunteer, contact Emily Doerr at [email protected]