Ferndale's Festival Weekend a Big Success, Organizers Say
"I think it was definitely a group win for everybody - not just for the people involved but for the city too," says DIY Street Fair organizer Chris Johnston.
For Ferndale's Chris Johnston, putting on the DIY Street Fair is a lot about building community.
So as he looks back on this past weekend's three busy days of art, live music and tons of activities, it's some of the smaller moments that stand out to him most.
The faces - many familiar and many new - and the connections being made among neighbors, parents, and friends-of-friends who don't always see each other much outside of the occasional school event or meeting.
"I saw a lot of people having conversations and to me that is what a community is about," he said. "The chance to melt it all together, introduce each other and I think over the course of three days a lot of connections were made like that. To me that only strengthens the city and what we have to be proud about."
Organizers of the DIY Street Fair and Funky Ferndale Art Fair confirmed on Monday what was probably apparent to those who witnessed the droves of people on both sides of Nine Mile Road out enjoying the events: Festival weekend in Ferndale was a big success.
More than 250 unique artists and vendors were featured between the two festivals along with live music, food, kids activities and more. [See photos from the events and add your pictures here.]
"I thought it was one of Ferndale's best weekends of the year," said Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter, who checked out the events all three days. "I had a blast this weekend ... The weather always seems to cooperate and the amount of vendors and bands and things to do seemed bigger than ever."
He was also glad to see so many people from across the region get exposure to all downtown Ferndale has to offer - it was a "great showcase of the city," he said.
"It's a great marketing opportunity for our city," Coulter said. The free activities were another bonus - "You didn't have to spend a lot of money to have a great time."
"Everything went great. I think it was a great showcase for Ferndale," he said. "It seemed like everybody felt comfortable. I was very proud of our city and very proud of the event."
Numbers are not yet available as far as money raised for local charities or how much was recycled, but Johnston said he expects both figures to be "very large."
"We had great volunteers helping us out over the weekend. I think it was definitely a group win for everybody - not just for the people involved but for the city too. I felt really good about it," he said.
Mark Loeb, event producer for the Funky Ferndale Art Fair, said the art fair went well and was enjoyed by many.
"It was great," Loeb said. "The artists reported that they loved the audience, that Ferndale is really a great place for them."
It was the art fair's 10th year in Ferndale and this year included two new street performers, which Loeb says he will continue next year.
"Many more of the businesses came out onto the street to participate," he added, pointing out that as many as 25 businesses were doing street sales at the same time as the festival.
"It's the most important thing because that's what gets people hooked on the city so they'll come back to those stores," he said. "Even if they don't buy anything that particular day they're getting to see what the city has to offer, so they're much more likely to come back and explore."