Corktown is changing and Erin Gavle thinks the holidays are a perfect time to come see what's happening in the neighborhood. In addition to being the owner of Corktown's Eldorado General Store, Erin is actively involved in the neighborhood's development. She serves as a board member and the Co-Director of Events on the Corktown Business Association. Three years ago, she founded Corktown Aglow, an annual holiday event to show off the neighborhood. We asked her about it…
1. What happens at Corktown Aglow?
The 3rd Annual Corktown Aglow is a day-long, family friendly event designed to celebrate the holidays and introduce people to Corktown — Detroit’s oldest neighborhood. It’s a Corktown Business Association event sponsored by Ford Motor Company and powered by countless Corktown small businesses. The day is filled with heaps of free holiday fun for the whole family and is quickly becoming a Detroit holiday tradition.
Neighbors love to celebrate the season in their unique community and each year more visitors come, explore, and fall in love with all Corktown has to offer. While Corktown is well known for its award winning restaurants and bars – visitors to Corktown Aglow are happy to discover that Corktown is a growing shopping destination too. They can also learn the history of the neighborhood- and Detroit.
Its mission stemmed from the idea that creating spaces and experiences aimed at gathering people is a direct route to strengthening communities and the businesses within them. In 2016, Corktown Aglow was created as an opportunity to celebrate Corktown’s growing small business community, it’s residents, and to welcome new guests and visitors to our neighborhood in hopes of changing the perceptions of our city and neighborhood in a positive way.
We’re so excited to be hosting the 3rd Annual Corktown Aglow — we can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been up to.
This year we want to highlight that you can spend an entire day and night in Corktown – visiting restaurants for brunch, lunch and dinner, hopping on the free shuttles throughout the neighborhood and beyond. Enjoy holiday shopping at stores and markets throughout Corktown and at the Ponyride Holiday Makers Market. Find Corktown Aglow specials throughout the neighborhood at participating businesses. Listen to a marching band, meet Rudolph and his friends at the reindeer petting zoo, roast marshmallows, enjoy hot chocolate, snap a photo with Santa, tour historic sites in Corktown, kids can play games and make crafts. And we’re excited to announce that Garlin Gilchrist II Lieutenant Governor of Michigan-elect will be joining us for the Tree Lighting Ceremony followed by caroling and an After Aglow block party.
2. Tell us about the history of the event. How has it changed over the years?
The event was founded in 2016 as a way to invite people to participate with our Corktown community during the holidays. We wanted to highlight the small businesses that keep pushing our neighborhood forward while celebrating the residents and visitors that helped us grow all year round. It’s become a place where neighbors can gather and connect and for visitors to stop by their favorite Corktown cornerstones and meet some of the new businesses on the block.
The initial need for this event has shifted slightly in just a few short years as Detroit and our neighborhood become more desirable destination spots. People are coming to Detroit to see what the city has been building and they’re making sure to stop by Corktown on their tour. So, in turn, our focus doesn’t have to be rooted in changing perspectives of our neighborhood but more so about connecting our community – both residents, business owners and visitors. As our neighborhood continues to grow at a rapid pace, it’s important to create gatherings like this to bring the community together to connect and support one another and celebrate the many successes our neighborhood has seen throughout the year.
3. Tell us about the holiday shopping that people can do. Can you offer some gift recommendations?
We’ll have free day and evening shuttles throughout Corktown, Downtown, North Corktown, and Southwest Detroit making stops at retail businesses throughout the neighborhood and our two holiday markets in Corktown: Ponyride Holiday Makers Market and the Trumbull + Bagley Market. Shops will have Corktown Aglow special events, sales, and pop-ups.
Guests are encouraged to play the Naughty or Nice bingo game by stopping at shops and small businesses throughout the neighborhood for a chance to win prizes like hotel stays, gift certificates and more.
Corktown has the perfect selection of holiday gifts for everyone on your list – gift certificates to your favorite coffee shop, bar or restaurant. Handmade, vintage and new clothing, grooming products, and gift shops for men and women.
4. You're also encouraging people to give this year. Tell us about that.
We want to make sure all our neighbors have a happy and warm holiday. We’ve partnered again with the Detroit Police Department to ‘Stuff a Cop Car” full of donated items. It happens from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. We’ll be collecting items at Trumbull and Bagley streets then distribute them to the 3rd Precinct Adopt-A-Family program. Requested items include new unwrapped toys, new socks, blankets, gloves, hats, scarves and new or gently used coats and sweaters.
Several location are accepting donations before the event:
- Bobcat Bonnie’s
- Brooklyn Street Local
- Eldorado General Store
- The Farmer’s Hand / Folk
Corktown Aglow takes place on Saturday, December 8th. Visit the website for details.