The Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest, is a FREE annual in-person event at Eastern Market in Detroit, Michigan.
2934 Russell Street
Detroit, MI 48207
Sunday, July 18, 2021
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Facebook event page
We are also hosting Virtual Detroit Bookfest on our website from July 16-18, 2021
The phrase “Eastern Market” refers to both the large district/neighborhood and also the series of Sheds owned by the city of Detroit and run by the Eastern Market Partnership non-profit organization.
Opened in 1891, Eastern Market is the largest historic public market in the United States.
Featuring 43 acres of space, Eastern Market is comprised of a series of indoor and outdoor sheds which function as thriving year-round consumer markets.
This year, Detroit Bookfest will be located inside Shed 5 where vendors will be selling all sorts of books (ie: used, rare, antiquarian, authors, children’s, new, unusual, ephemera, etc), comic books, vinyl LP records, creative arts, and more.
DJ Seven Whales will be providing the vibes.
Corinne VanOstran will be documenting the experience with her keen and perceptive eye.
The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau’s D-Rover van will be outside Shed 5.
Health and safety is our #1 concern.
Whatever safety protocols are in place on Bookfest Day, we will be following them 100%.
We ultimately have no idea what to expect this year but we will do our absolute best to make it fun and safe.
Our festival footprint has grown to include:
The Official Bookfest Afterparty down the street at Eastern Market Brewing Company (runs 10am-8pm)
Bookfest Bash inside Bea’s Detroit (runs 10am-4pm)
Red Bull Arts Detroit
Please explore the Detroit Bookfest Festival Guide below.
We also encourage you to make a day of it and explore the entire Eastern Market district, which is packed with hundreds of fun shops, restaurants, and experiences.
Here’s our totally professional graphic designer-approved not flawed in any way screenshot MAP of the Bookfest Festival Footprint
Eastern Market Brewing Company
2515 Riopelle Street
Located three blocks southeast of Shed 5, Eastern Market Brewing Company (EMBC) is one of the most popular destinations in Eastern Market.
Currently, the street they’re on, Riopelle, is closed to vehicle traffic. It is pedestrian-only and they have tables in the street, food tent, live DJ, and of course beer, glorious beer.
Some of their most popular beers are:
Elephant Juice, Market Day IPA, Mae Blanc, Wonderboy, and White Coffee Stout
Special thanks to Dayne Bartscht (owner), Shalyn Getz (president), David Mates-Knapp (events director)
Bea’s Squeeze Detroit
1533 Winder Street
Half a block around the corner from EMBC is Bea’s lovely combination eatery and co-working space. This beautiful addition to the market is the brainchild of Beatrice Wolnerman and they now have a walk-up window.
Bea’s was recently voted the # 1 special occasion venue in Metro Detroit.
Be sure to try Bea’s signature lemonade (bottled lemonade or lemonade slushies) and some tasty scones.
You can even buy this awesome duffel bag from Bea’s
Special thanks to Beatrice Wolnerman (owner) and Connar McLeod (events director)
Red Bull Arts Detroit
1551 Winder Street
Directly next door to Bea’s is the 14,000-square foot two-story Red Bull Arts warehouse. During Bookfest they will have an open house, artist exhibitions and you can check out their library and recording studio.
The basement of the warehouse is the old Eckhardt & Becker Brewery and is basically a cool subterranean brick-walled cavern. The brewery was here 1891-1969.
New York City and Detroit are the only two Red Bull Arts exhibition spaces in North America. There’s also one in Sao Paolo, Brazil called The Station. Red Bull’s global HQ is in Austria and their North American HQ is in Santa Monica, California.
Red Bull, yes the energy drink company, pays 9 artists from all over the world a $12,000 stipend to live and work at the warehouse for 3 month intervals (ie: January-April, April-July, August-November). The stipend allows the artists to focus on making art full-time while in Detroit. Being an artist is not easy and the money and dedicated time for free-flowing creativity are a blessing to struggling artists.
RBA Detroit Facebook
Special thanks to Matt Eaton (director)
The Dequindre Cut
Closest entrance located at 3017 Orleans Street.
“The Cut,” as it’s called is a lovely greenway/urban recreational pathway for walking, biking, jogging.
It is 2-miles long and runs from the Detroit Riverfront to the northern tip of Eastern Market.
Near the Wilkins/Orleans entrance, you can find the Freight Yard Bar, this is an outdoor bar made out of shipping containers.
To get to the bar:
Enter at Orleans St & Wilkins St, walk down to the Cut, make a right, then it’s down on your left.
Fortunately, on Bookfest Day July 18th, 2021, members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will be playing a free pop-up concert from Noon to 1:00 p.m. at the Dequindre Cut’s Frieghtyard Bar!
You can also catch free DSO concerts throughout the year at their own Sosnick Courtyard (51 Parsons St) in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood.
DSO @ Freight Yard Bar
Special thanks to Clare Valenti (DSO community engagement director)
This afterhours ping-pong social club is located inside Bert’s Warehouse (2739 Russell Street)
The brainchild of former Honolulu-based radio DJ and pong enthusiast Mal Lang, their slogan is “unplug and play.”
Mal says, “Soccer is # 1 and table tennis is the # 2 participant sport in world. Table tennis is huge in China, India, Europe (especially Sweden & Germany).”
Bert’s Warehouse also features a comedy club, kitchen, and bar, so you can drink and pong all night long.
Lessons are available and they will be doing wheelchair table tennis soon.
Their other slogan is “Food, drinks, music and pong.”
5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
$10/hr from 5-7pm, then $15/hr 7pm-11pm
Thanks to Mal Lang (owner)
Detroit City Distillery
2462 Riopelle Street
The Riopelle taproom of DCD is down the street from Eastern Market Brewing Company.
Here you will find a lively outdoor vibe, including music, cocktails and food from Midnight Temple, the Indian gastropub located above DCD. (hint: try the tandoori wings and gobi rollup).
Special thanks to JP Jerome (co-founder), Mike Forsyth (co-founder), Akash Sudhakara (Midnight Temple)
Trio of great shops
1337-1353 Division Street
This trio of great shops, Detroit Hustles Harder, Signal-Return, the 37th Shield Library, is located along Division Street, west of Russell Street.
37th Shield Library sells books and records and more.
Signal-Return is a letterpress studio.
Detroit Hustles Harder is a globally recognized clothing store.
Special thanks to Andrew Potvin (37th Shield), Toby Barlow and Lynne Avadenka (Signal-Return), and Brendan Blumentritt (Detroit Hustles Harder)
3434 Russell Street
The Eastern is a lovely 5,000-square foot industrial space you can rent out for special events.
Built in 1888, this is the old Hook and Ladder # 5 fire station. The Eastern has capacity for 300 seated or 600+ strolling and a 3,000 square foot outdoor patio.
Note: The entrance is not directly on Russell St, rather the main entrance is located on the north side of the building next to Wasserman Art Gallery.
Special thank you to Scott Rutterbush (owner).
Elsewhere in the Eastern Market district….
2501 Russell Street, ste. 400
This fun event space is 2,000 square feet and has capacity for 50 seated or 125 strolling.
Great for meetings, weddings, photo shoots, events of all sorts.
Special thanks to Candice Simons (owner).
Dyno Indoor Climbing Gym
3500 Orleans Street
This place is really cool! Inside you will find 12-15 foot tall boulders and a 49 foot tall rope section.
You can get a day pass, punch pass, or membership.
Climbers must be over 4 years old and you have to be over 16 years old to belay.
Special thanks to Dino Ruggeri (owner)
Dorais Park Velodrome
601 Mack Avenue
Located on the NW edge of the Eastern Market district, this is also another really cool place!
Inside the 64,000 square foot dome you will find an indoor wooden bicycle track.
Bicyclists beware, you can actually go up to 50mph on your bicycle inside here!
Special thanks to Dale Hughes (owner)