Art & Entertainment, Detroit City Guide, Feature Story

Dally in the Alley Family Style

Hi, friends! How was your weekend?

I had a great weekend with the family and it was very busy, too! We went to a fall festival at a local church in Utica, Michigan, Dally in the Alley in Detroit, and a (new-to-us) cider mill in Rochester, Michigan.

Today I’m going to share with you our photos from Dally in the Alley.

Later this week, I will share posts on our time at the fall festival and cider mill so stay tuned! SO…DID YOU DALLY? 🙂

Dally in the Alley 2019
We had so much fun at our first Dally in the Alley event! Photo of me with Zechariah (throwing up a peace sign), holding Zephaniah, and Zhen!

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase, Good Life Detroit may receive a small commission. You can read our disclosure policy here if you like. Thank you for supporting Good Life Detroit!


JUST A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON DALLY IN THE ALLEY (in case you’re new to Detroit)

  • Dally in the Alley is held every year in September the weekend after Labor Day.
  • 2019 was the 42nd year of Dally in the Alley!
  • It’s Detroit’s largest community festival.
  • The event is free and volunteers help run it!
  • Each year a different artist creates the official Dally in the Alley poster. Artist David “Birdchow” McGuffie created the 2019 poster.
Dally in the Alley
2019 Dally in the Alley poster created by artist David “Birdchow” McGuffie
(Poster image courtesy of Dally in the Alley)
Dally in the Alley
Zhen and I taking a photo at the Dally in the Alley art frames section of the festival. I thought this was a very fun idea!
  • Over 30 music artists/bands perform at Dally in the Alley.
  • Dally in the Alley’s largest funding source comes from its beer sales.
  • The festival is also a family-friendly event featuring a small kid zone for the little ones.
  • You can find these really cool, artsy signs throughout the festival. Some of the hand-painted signs have social justice call-to-action messages (like the one below).
  • Dally proceeds go back into the community and help with funding for Dally so that it remains free to the community.

Dally in the Alley is also a wonderful way to discover more Detroit businesses. We discovered a few Detroit businesses that we’re interested in visiting again. I bought incense from Mystic Lyte Company and we discovered a few artists that we’d like to buy art from in the future.

Dally in the Alley
Photo of hand-painted signs created for Dally in the Alley.
Dally in the Alley
“Fucking Vote.”
Black Lives Matter Detroit
“Black Lives Matter”

READ: “Dally in the Alley 2019 #streetphotography” for more Dally photos!


OUR DALLY IN THE ALLEY FASHION

JENN’S OUTFIT:

I wore a vintage Mexican dress from Mama Coo’s Boutique. Have you been to Mama Coo’s? I love her vintage shop!

Over the summer, I had bought a few summer vintage pieces and the Mexican dress was one of my purchases. It is such a comfy, fun dress to wear.

I added my sun hat for an accessory and I wore my Nike Airforce 1 sneakers. I’m so glad I wore my sun hat because it was a little warm that day and it helped with a little shade from the bright sun. Next year, I’m going to make sure I bring hats for the kids, too.

Mama Coo's Boutique Detroit
I bought my vintage Mexican dress at Mama Coo’s Boutique in Detroit.
My SUN HAT is from Walmart for under $7!
vintage Mexican Dress
My vintage dress is very comfy and I love the vibrant colors!
SUNHAT, WALMART under $7

TRAVIS’ OUTFIT:

Travis wore a sky blue thermal sweater and jeans. I think he ended up regretting his decision later because it was too hot for it! Lol! So take note, if you attend Dally in the Alley next year, don’t wear a thermal sweater unless it’s chilly outside!

Good Life Detroit
Selfie of us on our way to Dally in the Alley.

ZHEN’S OUTFIT:

Zhen wore an Old Navy graphic tee “Be Unique it’s a beautiful thing!” with a cute spotted print skirt. Amazingly, Travis picked out the cutest rainbow socks to match her outfit.

He will tell you himself he is not the best at coordinating the kids’ outfits. Sometimes he dresses them in some crazy color combos and I have to go pick out something else for them. Haha!

Dally in the Alley
Zhen giving a peace sign and looking so cute in her outfit.

ZECHARIAH’S AND ZEPHANIAH’S OUTFITS:

For the boys, I had them wear cute graphic tees with shorts. Zechariah wore his Converse mid-tops and Zephaniah wore his high-top Fila sneakers (he loves these shoes so much btw!).

I thrifted Zechariah’s tiger shirt at the Salvation Army and the boys’ shorts are from Target and Zephaniah’s space shirt is from Old Navy.

Detroit bloggers
Zechariah and Zhen got to meet Tank the puppy at Dally in the Alley.
Michigan bloggers
Zephaniah accidentally popped his green balloon so a volunteer was kind enough to give him a red balloon. Toddler Meltdown Crisis Diverted!

READ: “HAMTRAMCK’S LABOR DAY FESTIVAL 2019”


AN ACCIDENTAL DALLY FASHION TRADITION WE STARTED

Something pretty cool happened the night before Dally. For our Friday homeschool art lesson, I let the kids explore creating art with our big box of art supplies. I call it our “Creative Art Box” and I like to add art supplies like beads, glitter glue, silly craft eyes, craft pipe cleaners, scrap art pieces, and more.

During their art time, they do free art and create whatever they like. Zhen expressed a desire to create a queen’s tiara from the pipe cleaners (aka chenille stems). She said she wanted a crown just like Audrey from Disney’s Descendants 3 movie. (My kids are OBSESSED with this movie! They play the songs every single day.)

Michigan family life bloggers
Zhen loved her crafty tiara!

So naturally, we looked up “pipe cleaner crafts” on YouTube and we came across a fun tutorial for creating a tiara from the chenille stems.

Travis helped Zhen make her tiara and she wanted to wear it to Dally in the Alley. It worked so well with her fun festival outfit that I think we’re going to do this again next year!

I noticed a few people dressed in costume at Dally in the Alley. I think it would be fun to let the kids pick out a fun outfit or DIY costume to wear for our future Dallying.

Good Life Detroit
Forever giving peace signs in photos.

A LOT OF WALKING AT DALLY — THANKFUL FOR OUR WAGON!

I’m glad we brought our wagon with us because we did A LOT of walking. The kids took turns riding in the wagon and walking with us.

For the most part, there was plenty of space between patrons that we felt comfortable enough for the kids to walk beside us. If we came to a crowded area, then we put the boys in the wagon and had Zhen hold our hand.

Dally in the Alley
Travis tugging the kids along at Dally.
Detroit festivals
So happy we bought our wagon last year!
Detroit City Guide
CLICK THIS IMAGE to check out my DETROIT CITY GUIDE.
It’s a collection of attractions, events, and city life!

PRETTY EASY TO NAVIGATE DALLY WITH KIDS

What I liked about the way Dally in the Alley was sectioned is that it wasn’t near any major traffic roads. It is truly in a neighborhood. This made it easier for us to let the kids walk with us without worrying about them running near busy traffic.

And thankfully, we only had one small incident with one of the boys trying to take off running. Those two are always trying to run around wherever we go! When we went to the cider mill on Sunday, Zephaniah tried to take off running a couple of times. SMH

Detroit festival
Having a wagon for festivals has been a lifesaver for us!
Dally in the Alley
Another cool Dally sign

BUT I’M NOT GONNA LIE– WE DID GET LOST. ONE TIME.

Yeah, we got lost one time. It happens. I think it was because we’re not familiar with all of the Cass neighborhood. We are familiar with the main road, but not the side streets. We were trying to find the Kids’ Zone and we ended up walking all through Dally in the Alley.

BUT! WE FOUND A MAP!

Actually, the credit goes to Zhen because she found the map!

We ended up back where we started (the live painting section) and it was then Zhen discovered the Dally in the Alley map. (Duh, Mom and Dad!) After we looked at the map, we realized we had literally walked by the Kids’ Zone when we first came inside the neighborhood!

So if you make plans to attend Dally next year, keep an eye out for a map to help navigate the festival. Or you could just be super organized and responsible and download the map from the Dally website. (Duh! Lol)

Dally in the Alley map
Way to go, Zhen, on finding the Dally map! It helped us find the Kids’ Zone.

DALLY IN THE ALLEY’S KIDS’ ZONE

Since we got a little lost, we caught the tail end of the Kids’ Zone program. The play area was open from 12 P.M. to 4 P.M. We had made sure to plan our trip around the Kids’ Zone hours because we wanted the kids to have an opportunity to Dally, too!

At the Kids’ Zone, the kids enjoyed taking silly pictures, getting a balloon (this was seriously a BIG hit for my kids), face paintings, and playing a game of ring toss.

Dally in the Alley kids zone
Zechariah taking a silly Dally picture.
Detroit festivals
Zhen wanted a rainbow face painting. You can see Travis in the background watching the boys play.

THANK YOU FOR THE WHITE PICKET FENCE!

Travis and I appreciated the kid-size white picket fence surrounding the Kids’ Zone. I don’t know if this was an intentional safety measure or just a cool aesthetic feature, but it helped us keep up with our three little ones.

The white picket fence served as a great barrier if one of the boys tried to run off, and believe me, they TRIED IT! But the fence kept them from going far! Ha!

Good Life Detroit
Love this sweet moment Travis captured of me with the kids.

GET THE LATEST UPDATE ON NEW BLOG POSTS!

Join 2,593 other subscribers


OTHER DALLY IN THE ALLEY HIGHLIGHTS:

Our time at Dally in the Alley was spent in the afternoon from about 2:30ish P.M. to 6 P.M. Here are a few highlights we saw during the afternoon session:

  • Live music bands
  • Many food trucks (There were so many options!)
  • A market section for shopping featuring local vendors
  • Detroit artists painting on-site (The artists were very intriguing to watch paint and happy to chat with festival visitors.)
  • Community stage (We missed the dog show, unfortunately.)
Dally in the Alley
There were over 30 music bands who performed at Dally in the Alley.
Sno Biz Detroit
Sno Biz Detroit Shaved Ice is SO GOOD!!
Lil Nas X
Beautiful artwork of Lil’ Nas X

WHAT WAS THE DALLY BALL ALL ABOUT?

I have no idea what the Dally Ball was for or where it ended up, but I thought it was pretty neat there was a big beach ball for visitors to sign. There’s even a hashtag for it– #DallyBall— featuring a few others’ photos.

If you know the story behind the Dally Ball, leave me a comment and let me know!

Dally in the Alley
Dally Ball

MEETING GRANDMA TECHNO AT DALLY

Also, while we were doing our “family dallying,” we had a nice meeting with Detroit photographer Patricia “Grandma Techno” Lay-Dorsey.

I’ve been following Mrs. Lay-Dorsey on Instagram for about 3 years now so it was really nice to connect with her in person. I love her posts about Detroit and social issues. Have you seen them yet?

She also recently published her book They Call Me Grandma Techno. The book is a collection of her photographs from Movement Detroit spanning the years 2007 to 2018.

Grandma Techno had spotted us walking and asked if she could take a picture of us for her “Families in Detroit” photography project.

Here are a few more she has featured on her instagram:

Grandma Techno
It was a pleasure to connect with Patricia “Grandma Techno” Lay-Dorsey!

A FEW MORE PHOTOS OF DALLY IN THE ALLEY 2019

Dally in the Alley signs
The Dally in the Alley signs are also my favorite!
Ryan Wheeler
Artist Brea takes a break from her painting while artist Ryan Wheeler chats with a few visitors at Dally in the Alley.
Ryan Wheeler Detroit artist
Ryan Wheeler painting his art piece.
Jpeena art
@ jpenna_art
Good Life Detroit
Zhen enjoying her cotton candy.
Dally in the Alley
More intriguing artwork at Dally.
Frida art Detroit
I really wanted to get one of these Frida prints but I was short on cash. Hopefully, I will catch the artist at another art festival!
Detroit kids events
Travis helping the kids get a balloon at Dally in the Alley.
Detroit Never Left
“Detroit Never Left”
Amicci's Pizza Detroit
I had a delicious calzone from Amicci’s Pizza.
Good Life Detroit
Selfie of the boys and me on our way to Dally in the Alley.
Good Life Detroit
Zephaniah was dallied out at the end of our trip! LOL!
Dally in the Alley
“Dally in the Alley” | “You Know You Love Dally”

DON’T FORGET! Check out a few more street photography photos I took at Dally in the Alley 2019. Click HERE to see!

SUBSCRIBE TO GOOD LIFE DETROIT!

Join 2,593 other subscribers

ALSO, CHECK OUT ON THE BLOG:

All photographs, with the exception of the Dally poster, are courtesy of Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.

What are your thoughts?