In a city facing a more than 50 percent population deficit, the definition of neighborhood becomes somewhat loose. Really, anywhere in Detroit that you find three square streets hanging together with no rotten apples, you have something beginning to qualify for neighborhood status. But some communities that have made a neighborhood into something tighter, not looser. There are those places which have taken a lack of city resources as an excuse to let a neighborhood go to seed, and then there are neighborhoods that have seen the deficit and decided to place stewardship of the neighborhood into the hands of the neighbors.
The six “Village” neighborhoods, which include West Village (anomalously located on the East side of the city), Islandview Village, East Village and Indian Village, represent some of what is possible in Detroit when neighbors get together to preserve and improve their community. This Saturday is the annual Villages Fall Festival, taking place from 12-9 p.m. between Van Dyke and Parker, Agnes and Coe streets, in the historic West Village. The event is paired with the final weekend of the season for the Tashmoo Biergarten, enjoying a second year of success and drawing attendance from all over the city and surrounding suburbs.
The theme of this year’s Fall Festival is, “Open for Business,” a nod to recent experiments in commercial development throughout the Villages that will be a welcome supplement to the growing residential population. Aside from the pop-up retail venues, there will be live music by Detroit artists, including jazz vocalist Shahida Nurullah, blues guitarist Billy Davis, American roots duo Shortwave Band, and singersongwriter Britney Stoney, as well as local Movement DJ John Collins and others. There will be a Children’s Tent with activities sponsored by the Detroit Waldorf School (located in Indian Village) and We Are Clay, and an art exhibit of College for Creative Studies student work called “Detroit Futurism.”
Open for business and gearing up for a fun weekend; come on down and see what the Villages are all about!