There's a certain humongous festival that's going on downtown Royal Oak that you're probably aware of, but if you think you'd like to take a break from the enormity of those events and head to one of our favorite suburbs located within the city of Detroit, we've got just the thing for you.
The 2012 Hamtramck Labor Day Festival will once again be filling a Saturday, Sunday and Monday with not only great live entertainment but plenty of food, cheap (but incredibly tasty) beer and some ethnic cheer, plus much, much more. And though this festival has come to be known as a yearly staple, according to Hamtramck's Downtown Development Authority, Darren Grow, it almost didn't happen this year.
"Money is tight, like in any city, and when we came to City Council they weren't sure it was in the budget and they kind of passed it along to the DDA. We knew we didn't have the money either, but they saw that if they didn't help it wasn't going to happen and they knew it wasn't something worth losing," says Grow.
It wasn't until July that the Festival was officially scheduled to happen, says Grow and due to that fact, the festival is much more grassroots this year, which isn't always a bad thing. In fact, there will be just as many vendors as in past years, but they'll be saving money by making their space smaller.
"We'd like to expand the festival in coming years, but for right now we're just happy to be keeping it going," says Grow.
And it certainly would be a shame to shut down a festival that's been taking place in downtown Hamtramck for over three decades. Since 1980, the festival's been celebrating not only the heritage of its many Polish citizens, but of all the ethnicities that have amassed in the small suburb.
Although not technically a Polish festival, one of the main events that take place during the Labor Day fete is the Polish parade and there will be plenty of authentic cuisine to perfectly compliment that cavalcade down Joseph Campau. There will also be vendors hocking authentic ethnic clothing, in case you want to join in on the pomp and circumstance.
Aside from ethnic staples, there will also be a full carnival with over 100 rides and games as well as a kid's area with face painting and arts and crafts plus plenty to please the adults in attendance as well.
"We're going to have 16-oz. beers for $4, which is really cheap for a festival," says Grow. "Plus Motor City Brewing is going to be bringing some very special cases of a beer that they brewed especially for Hamtramck and the festival. And, of course, we'll have Ghettoblaster on tap as well."
Great ethnic food and super exclusive beer might sound like enough to get folks out in droves, but the festival is also packed with events that are both amusing and exciting.
"Our firefighters are back this year with their beer tent and they'll also be selling their renowned chili too. They haven't been doing the tent in the last couple years, so it's good to have them back," says Grow. "We're also going to have yacht races where each of the bars downtown build their own soapbox car to race during the festival."
For folks that have paid particular attention to the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign that's on about every other billboard in metro Detroit, the festival will also be providing a shuttle supplied by the Detroit Bus Company that will pick up and drop off patrons at stops in Detroit, Royal Oak and Ferndale. | RDW
Hamtramck Labor Day Festival • 9/1-9/3, noon-10 p.m. • Downtown Hamtramck • hamtownfest.com • Free