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Local News / Entertainment

Sunday, 18 July, 2010 0:13 AM

Officials announce community and cultural initiatives for Ford Arts, Beats and Eats

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson speaks during a press conference for the Arts, Beats and Eats festival on July 12, 2010.
by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

ROYAL OAK, Mich. -- Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison and Festival Producer Jon Witz gathered at the Royal Oak Music Theater on Monday to unveil new community initiatives related to arts advocacy, hunger relief and health and wellness. Representatives from non-profit, community and cultural organizations were also on hand.

Arts du Jour will return this year after a several year hiatus. The official pre-party for the Arts, Beats and Eats festival will include food, music, art and local celebrities. The event will be a fundraiser for eight nonprofit organizations in the metro Detroit area. It is scheduled for Aug. 26 at the Royal Oak Farmers Market.

"The artist booths are up almost double, we're going to have new, fresh restaurants that have never participated in the past," said L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive and Arts, Beats and Eats Founder. "It's just going to be a lot of fun and we look forward to expanding the program. We were in Pontiac for a dozen years. We looked around where we could strike a better deal in Oakland County. Royal Oak was clearly an opportunity for us that we took advantage of. I think we're going to turn out a bigger and better program than ever before."

Everyone who donates three non-perishable food items to one of 26 Citizens Bank locations in Oakland County from July 26 through Sept. 3 will receive a free admission ticket to the festival.

Otherwise, attendees will be asked to donate $3 to get into the festival, which is scheduled for Labor Day weekend in downtown Royal Oak. Gleaners Community Food Bank and Forgotten Harvest will share gate proceeds with 12 other regional charities. These organizations are expected to receive more than $200,000 over the weekend of the festival.

About 25 restaurants have agreed to donate a minimum of $500 to Forgotten Harvest to provide 2,500 meals to the homeless. Volunteers will rescue food from participating restaurants booths, and package it for those in need. Andiamo's, BlackFinn, D'Amatos, Lily's Seafood Grill and Sangria are just a few of the restaurants participating in the program.

"We're excited, we think Royal Oak is a natural place," said Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison. "We're all about Arts, Beats and Eats. To me, it's a perfect fit. There will be acts inside the theater and there will be stages set up outside, one right in front of the theater here. The main stage will be at the south end of downtown in a parking lot near Main Street and 7th Street. All of the little finger streets that run off will have a stage on them. We're going to have to do some off-site parking and some shuttling."

A new cultural stage will be added to Arts, Beats and Eats. It will feature a symphony orchestra, chamber music ensembles, flamenco musicians, ethnic dancers, youth singers and performers. Some of the performers include members of the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Matrix Theatre Company, La Chispa and Company, Nadanta Dancers, Orquestra La Inspiracion, Compas, InsideOut Literary Arts Project and the Royal Oak Symphony.

In addition, the juried fine art fair will return with about 150 artists from across the country with various types of art.

"There will be arts organizations showcased, health and wellness initiatives, we're excited about getting those messages out," said Festival Producer Jon Witz. "More bands, there will be 200 compared to about 150. That's grown by 33 percent--10 stages. Fifty-four restaurants instead of 44, so more food. The amount of artists will be similar to where we've been last year. We're working on solving the parking issues. We've acquired 9,000 spaces and we want to get 12,000. We're continuing to work to solve that."

The Ford Arts, Beats and Eats festival is expected to prove more than $10 million in economic impact to downtown Royal Oak. The festival will promote the city as a shopping and dining destination as part of the festival.

HealthPlus of Michigan is introducing the world's largest bike corral. The program encourages residents to ride their bike to and from the festival to promote a more healthy and active lifestyle. The YMCA Sportapalooza will offer health and wellness activities through a series of sports challenges.

"Parking is going to be an issue, we encourage crowds to come early," Patterson added. "We're going to take up every available space in Royal Oak. There's no question about that."

The 2010 Ford Arts, Beats and Eats runs for four days from Sept. 3 through 6. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Labor Day Monday.

For more information on the 2010 Ford Arts, Beats and Eats, visit www.artsbeatseats.com.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Guitarists Ismel Duran and his grandson Gabriel Herrera-Duran entertain the crowd with Latin music.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

10-year-old Gabriel Herrera-Duran

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Organizers of the Ford Arts, Beats and Eats festival just before the press conference began.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Arts, Beats and Eats moves from Pontiac to Royal Oak for 2010.

 

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