Clawson Fest 2023 is Bigger and Better Than Ever

The “Little City with a Big Heart” hosts its third annual festival with local food, drink, music, art and more. Some proceeds going toward Alex Verner Scholarship fund.
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Photo courtesy of Clawson Fest

This Saturday is the third annual Clawson Fest. The six-hour festival sponsored by Weiss Distilling Co. boasts four live bands and over 90 vendors supplying food and drink, fine art, home décor, custom jewelry and more in downtown Clawson.

All ages get in free — the event’s “Kid’s Zone” has all kinds of treats, as well as activities like face painting, stuffed animal building, sidewalk chalk, bubble blowing, and foam parties.

The event, which begins at 2 p.m., is highlighted by an appearance from Detroit native speed painter Dave Santia from 6-6:30 p.m. Santia’s live artwork will be auctioned off right after being created.

Sean Nasrey, the originator of Clawson Fest, is a musician and Clawson native. He started the festival back in summer 2021 at the height of the pandemic to bring a fun, morale-boosting sense of togetherness to the community in a safe way outdoors. Since its first year, the event has outgrown its humble beginnings of just a few volunteers and a city municipal parking lot.

“It’s just been amazing putting it all together this year,” Nasrey says. “It’s all community funded by Clawson for Clawson. We’ve had marketing money to advertise on the radio and on billboards. I estimate this year there will be over 20,000 people in attendance throughout the day.”

Half of all live auction proceeds will go to the Alex Verner Scholarship fund, which benefits a Clawson High School senior, and every bidder will receive a free T-shirt courtesy of Clawson’s own Pop Up Art Studio. Verner, a Clawson native and Clawson High School 2020 graduate, was one of the three students killed in the shooting at Michigan State University in February.

Bonnie Swope, the owner of Pop Up Art Studio, is an artist who’s been doing business in the city for years. She attended the first Clawson Fest as a customer and served as a vendor last year. This year, she’s even more involved, making T-shirts, banners and other art for attendees. She said there’s nothing quite like this festival.

“One thing that makes it different is it really is Clawson-centric,” Swope says. “At other events in Metro Detroit, you see and meet people from all over. This event really is just the heart of Clawson. You see so many people coming together to support our little city. It’s really impressive.”

The “Little City with a Big Heart” takes up just over two square miles of space, making Clawson Fest an event where residents see many people they know, she says.

“As you walk up and down the vendors, you see your neighbors and friends and local businesses. It’s so nice to be among a tight-knit group of people as you celebrate and have fun.”

The festival takes place Saturday Aug. 26 from 2 to 8 p.m. on Main Street in Clawson between 14 Mile and Tacoma. You can find out more about Clawson Fest on its website and Facebook page. Plus, find more fun things to do around metro Detroit at HourDetroit.com.