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<< Entertainment >>

2010 Ford Arts, Beats & Eats
~~ OAKLAND COUNTY'S SUMMER FESTIVAL ~~

* REVIEW: Over 425,000 people attend Arts, Beats and Eats in Royal Oak *

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A large crowd at the 2010 Ford Arts, Beats and Eats on Friday, Sept. 3 at around 8 p.m.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

ROYAL OAK, Mich. -- It was the festival's first time in the city of Royal Oak after moving from downtown Pontiac. Arts, Beats and Eats attracted 425,000 people this year, double the figure from 2009. In addition, the festival generated $498,000 in parking revenue, with $270,000 of that going to non-profit organizations.

Food and beverage sales were also up, smashing the previous sales record set in 2004. Royal Oak's Downtown Development Authority will be repaid its $100,000 sponsorship fee from the parking revenue.

"We enjoyed it in Pontiac and we enjoyed it here," said Sherri Richards of Brighton, Mich. "We found the artist the first time we came, four or five years ago. And we come back every year because we really enjoy his art. He's from Alabama and he makes these wonderful dancing pictures. We like the entertainment, I love the music. We parked in this parking structure so it was relatively easy. It wasn't a problem at all. The food is good and the weather is perfect. It's a great weekend."

Admission at this year's Arts, Beats and Eats was $3 per person. Free admission was offered on Friday, the festival's first day until 5 p.m. Food and drink tickets were priced at 16 for $10.

Many business owners reported higher than expected sales over the weekend. This was the festival's first time in Royal Oak.

"My company is called Glass Box Guy and as the name implies I make little glass boxes made of stained glass, hand painted, mirror on the inside cover," said Mark Lewanski, an artist from Portland, Mich. "It's used for jewelry or putting change or whatever you want inside there. We've been making them for about 10 years. Pieces that have a lot of moving parts and drawers can take days, but the typical small box we can get done in less than an hour. I'm doing OK, we've sold pieces. It was better years and years ago before the recession."

Lewanski added: "I like Royal Oak's downtown better from a location point of view, but Pontiac had a good clientele. People were used to it. They had built that show up for seven, eight years straight so there was kind of a tradition going there. I think it's a positive mood. It seems like the crowd turned out. There's a lot of people here."

Police made only three arrests downtown for disorderly conduct. It is important to note that the arrests did not take place within the festival. There was some early concern about attendees bringing guns to the festival. However, there were no problems with that.

Parking was at a premium during the hours of the festival. Most of the garages charged $15 while the off-site lots offered parking for $10 with a free shuttle ride to Arts, Beats and Eats.

"It looks like it's pretty hopping," said Royal Oak resident Patrick Roche. "I'm enjoying it so far. The food is pretty good. A lot of good music. Royal Oak's a great downtown area. I mean I never went to it in Pontiac. Now that it's right in my backyard so to speak, I've come down and enjoying myself. It looks like there's a lot of different varieties of music for a lot of people who have different tastes in music."

The city's parking enforcement staff issued several hundred tickets, mostly for people who parked at bagged meters. Those individuals received a $50 parking violation.

Festival producer Jon Witz said he was happy with the outcome of the festival. He said he would like to open the art fair at 11 a.m. on the first day instead of 4 p.m. as it was this year.

"It's blown glass, I've been making pieces for 28 years," said Rollin Karg from Kechi, KS. "I started out making paper weights, little paper weights that weighed about half of a pound. Now, I'm making pieces up to 100 pounds. Plus I'm making glass and steel pieces that are up to 14 feet tall. It's a very enthusiastic crowd. I'm really surprised and gratified too. The news is relentlessly bad these days. To see people out here showing some optimism and buying some pieces, that's very heartening."

Karg added: "I like it. Pontiac's a nice place. But right here with all these eating establishments, bars and restaurants, I think this is the ideal location. These people are used to putting on festivals. It's very well-done."

The overall economic impact for the city of Royal Oak is estimated to be between $3 million and $4 million over the four-day weekend.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

ARTS: Glass art pieces by Rollin Karg of Kechi, Kansas.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

BEATS: Saving Abel performs on the Michigan Lottery national stage on Friday evening.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

EATS: Grilled turkey legs

::: RETURN TO OUR COVERAGE OF 2010 ARTS, BEATS & EATS :::

 


Arts, Beats & Eats celebrates its thirteenth year this Labor Day Weekend with new events, activities and surprises for our unique festival of art, music, food and family fun. We are especially proud that our Health Plus Art Fair is ranked 7th in the United States by Art Fair Source Book. The music line-up will be stellar, and we are looking forward to great performances, especially on the Michigan Lottery Stage.

 

 

 

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