My husband is more of a social animal than I am, and for the duration of COVID, has been locked down pretty tight due to our son’s different needs. I know he has been missing the liveliness of being somewhere that has high energy, people, things to see… so Saturday left the house early, masked up, and went to Franken Fest.
Franken Fest has apparently been around, but this is the first time it was in the Detroit area. We are huge Halloween fans and love monsters and cryptids and spooky stuff so we thought this event would be pretty neat to check out! Bonus – it was on the site of Fort Wayne in Detroit, which has been around as a fort since the War of 1812, and was used by the military until as “recently” as Vietnam. My dad actually shipped out from Fort Wayne. Now however, it is a series of crumbling buildings that historic preservationists are trying to save. We are going to go again one weekend when it is not a festival, the grounds deserve their own post..
Back to Franken Fest. I learned about it through the reptile rescue group Saving Scales Reptile Rescue. I want to adopt a rescue tortoise sometime this winter and was doing some research – in particular, I wanted to see a Russian Tortoise in person to get an idea of their size. Saving Scales was doing on the spot adoptions (I did not give in to temptation and adopt a tortoise…this weekend at least) so we headed there first. I enjoyed talking all things reptile with the volunteers and meeting their adoptable animals – leopard geckos, snakes, tortoises…all so cute! They also do educational outreach to schools and parties so I met their educational assistant, a blue tongued skink named Emma. I have never seen one in person like that and I was surprised at how big it was! I
After checking out the animals, we walked around the festival, perusing the art and creations. Since we were there at the time it opened, 11 am, we were really the only ones walking around, which was nice. Everything was scary, horror themed which was different from what we usually do. It was a fun change! I found a few really cool booths and creators! I did not buy anything, only stickers from an artist whose store is called Monsterologist. He had stickers and patches and posters based on legends like the Loch Ness Monster, Mothman, Sasquatch – it was fun! Wyatt picked out a mothman sticker, I chose a Loch Ness Monster sticker, and we bought a mothman sticker for my brother’s family, since this summer they vacationed in the area that legend derives from. (Not intentionally) There were also a few things I have never heard of – what is the story behind that frog, I wonder?
We also really liked this booth. Artist Jess Sheeran creates these adorable little critters! We are thinking of maybe gifting some at Christmas time, they are so cute! There was one with a mushroom themed headband that was cute, and also the little “nuggets” are so squishable!
Artist Stephanie Ellis really captured my attention though, with her more nature based art. She had prints and t-shirts, and I loved that she will reuse vintage t-shirts or t-shirts that are thrifted to screenprint on. Can you see why she caught my attention?
Finally, the art at the Gnarled Barnacle was definitely worth stopping in for a chat. They make “electric art” which I had not heard of but Billy had. They somehow use electricity to burn the wood, like a lightning strike in my mind but I am sure it is not that dramatic. Billy just told me they are passing an electrical current through the wood so I don’t think I was that far off. And how perfect was their booth for an event called Franken Fest!
After about an hour of wandering around, it started filling up so we decided it was time for us to go. We had seen everything anyway so we were ready. It was nice to do something different though and now I feel like I am really ready for fall!