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Love on Livernois: What Sweetest Day looked like in Live6

KeShon Demps, owner of Ingrid's Bakery & Shon Benson's Candy Creations

Love is patient and kind, as the saying goes, and it doesn't just show up in February for Valentine's Day. On October 15, lovers and those expressing affection across the Midwest celebrated Sweetest Day, a holiday that takes place every year on the third Saturday in October.

As a non-native Detroiter I wanted to learn more about the holiday. So, I explored the stretch of Livernois between 6 and 7 Mile to find out what residents and businesses had planned for Sweetest Day, and what this lesser known romantic holiday meant to them.

My first stop was to the Boston Market in the University District, located at 18610 Livernois. I met a young man named J., 20, in the nearby parking lot and asked what, exactly, Sweetest Day is. "I guess it's a good day for a good boyfriend," he said. Since Valentine's Day is typically seen as a holiday to celebrate women, Sweetest Day, in turn, is a holiday to celebrate the special guy in one's life.  

What type of presents do guys usually get for the holiday?

J.'s response: "Jogging suits," and, "a good cooked dinner."
Cards for Sweetest Day
For those outside of Michigan and the Midwest, Sweetest Day is a foreign concept. "Typically [it's] only celebrated in Michigan, Ohio, but the further you go south you won't be able to find cards," said Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, a resident and candidate for the Detroit Public School Board who perused the greeting card section in CVS.

Even though her children, a girl and a boy, are teenagers, Peterson-Mayberry still wanted to do something special for them. Her plans for the evening: a catered dinner for her family as a way to show appreciation. "Just another day to show love in an extra special way," she said.

Further down on Livernois I happened upon Ingrid's Bakery & Shon Benson's Candy Creations, a baked good and candy shop located at 19126 Livernois Avenue. Inside were a colorful array of sweets that looked like a scene out of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.  

KeShon Demps is the owner and said that getting ready for Sweetest Day requires some preparation on her part. Her shop has been open only six months and has been growing at a rate she hadn't anticipated.

"We have a few extra orders during the week prior," she said. Scoping out trends and requests on her social networks is one way that Demps keeps tabs on consumer demand, especially around holidays like Sweetest Day.

The most popular treat was the strawberry shortcake cheesecake. "We did that in a lot of different forms this year—we did them in heart shapes, cupcakes, cheesecakes." Demps's shop was stocked appropriately for the holiday and likely saved some poor last minute holiday shopper heartache.

Detroiters along Livernois corridor kept the Sweetest Day tradition alive this year. Whether buying greeting cards or selling sweets for sweeties celebrating, love came out on top. 

Read more articles by Terryn Hall.

Terryn Hall is a Detroit Revitalization Fellow and writer whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Root, and others. You can follow her on twitter @terryngrams.
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