Arts, Beats & Eats Festival Reaches 20-Year Milestone

Ford Arts, Beats & Eats Celebrates 20th Anniversary with New Partnerships, Cultural Features, and Fitness Fun

While summer is just getting started, organizers of the Ford Arts, Beats & Eats festival are well on their way to planning for the 20th anniversary edition. The Labor Day weekend event originated in Pontiac and is now held in Royal Oak (September 1-4, 2017). Festival organizers announced new cultural offerings and public engagement components at a special function last Wednesday. During its milestone year, the festival also will feature a gaming competition, a twist on the festival’s health and wellness programs, and culinary experiences.

20th Anniversary Arts, Beats & Eats

20th Anniversary Arts, Beats & Eats

A new commemorative poster for the 20th Annual Ford Arts, Beats & Eats was unveiled. Local firm FWD, a Royal Oak-based collaborative design company, designed this year’s poster, which combines past photography of the event with unique textures and colors in honor of the festival’s celebratory anniversary year.

“Oakland County is truly honored to have hosted this wonderful festival for 20 years, as it is the perfect way to showcase our fantastic and diverse arts and cultural community, and array of health and wellness programs in an environment that provides entertainment and family fun,” said Michael Gingell, chair of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. “This milestone year for Arts, Beats & Eats is certainly going to be a celebratory occasion, and not just for festival organizers, partners, participants and attendees, but for all the people, nonprofit organizations and community groups who call metro Detroit home. The positive economic impact this great event has on our county helps us continue to thrive and grow. We look forward to establishing meaningful new partnerships, fostering those that are ongoing and bringing new, innovative programming to the festival for the next 20 years.”

Continuing its commitment to quality of life in the community, festival organizers expect donations to local charities from this milestone year’s event to exceed $5 million since its inception.

The Eats

GreenSpace Café - photo by Michael Dwyer

GreenSpace Café – photo by Michael Dwyer

The streets of Royal Oak once again will be lined with a selection of restaurants and caterers to ignite the taste buds of festivalgoers and showcase the culinary arts of the area. Two of these eateries were at the announcement on June 14. The GreenSpace Café from Ferndale is an artisanal, plant-based, physician-owned restaurant. And Carrabba’s, best known for its wood-burning grill and cuisine inspired by the many tastes of Italy.

Carrabba's - photo by Michael Dwyer

Carrabba’s – photo by Michael Dwyer

Expanded Art and Cultural Features

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort will bring a taste of Native American culture to 7th Street at the festival with artists from the Ziibiwing Center for Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. This is the first year art from the Ziibiwing Center will be featured at Ford Arts, Beats & Eats, marking another first for the festival in its milestone year. The artwork from the Ziibiwing Center offers attendees the chance to view unique pieces from tribes with a deep culture and heritage in Michigan.

The Meters Made Beautiful program returns again this year. Local artists beautified nearly 75 parking meters on Washington Avenue and 4th Street during the 2016 inaugural year, bringing diverse and unique works of art into the heart of the city. Meters Made Beautiful once again will showcase artists’ designs on parking meters inside the festival footprint.

Royal Oak Mayor Mike Fournier - photo by Michael Dwyer

Royal Oak Mayor Mike Fournier – photo by Michael Dwyer

The Royal Oak Commission for the Arts and Ford Arts, Beats & Eats is calling all artists, amateur and professional, 18 years of age and older, to submit their designs through the artist application on the Ford Arts, Beats & Eats website. Selected artists have the opportunity to win $4,000 of cash awards, including a first-place prize of $1,500. Award winners will be selected based on a jury vote through the Royal Oak Commission for the Arts and Ford Arts, Beats & Eats. Applications must be submitted before Thursday, July 27 at 11:59 p.m.

“Royal Oak is proud to be the home for Ford Arts, Beats & Eats,” added Royal Oak Mayor Mike Fournier. “While a continued highlight for the city, we’re proud to engage residents and visitors everyday with our wonderful retail stores, restaurants, entertainment venues and arts and cultural offerings, such as the beautifully detailed and creative parking meters that have been on display since last year’s festival.”

The national and local music line-up will be officially announced in late July or early August.

Health and Wellness

On Saturday, Septempber 2, the Priority Health Zumbathon Celebration will transform the Michigan Lottery Stage into a dance fitness party from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. In conjunction with the metro Detroit fitness company, Vibe Fit, the class will feature other local Zumba instructors from across Michigan.



Presented by Life Time Fitness, Thrive Hot Yoga and Citizen Yoga will be holding yoga classes on Sunday, September 3. Thrive will present its Original Hot Yoga class beginning at 9:00 a.m. and will feature 26 postures and two breathing exercises. The all-inclusive class, recommended for all experience levels, will offer something for everyone, including individuals in wheelchairs and those with movement restrictions. Thrive will donate a portion of its proceeds to Spina Bifida Association of Michigan, an organization that provides resources and support for families of children suffering from this debilitating birth defect. Citizen Yoga Royal Oak, the first yoga studio in metro Detroit to offer alignment-based Vinyasa, Blend and Slow Burn classes, will host its class at 10:30 a.m. A portion of the proceeds from the class will proudly benefit Humble Design, a Pontiac-based non-profit that creates inviting and comforting spaces in houses for those recently transitioning out of homeless or abuse shelters. Also receiving proceeds from both classes is Life Time Foundation, which works to develop sustainable approaches to accelerate healthy change in school food programs and provides grants to schools and meals to children.

Additional fees apply for the fitness programs and some require preregistration.

Arts, Beats & Eats 2017

Arts, Beats & Eats 2017

The 20th annual Ford Arts, Beats & Eats presented by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort festival is held September 1 – 4, 2017. The festival paints downtown Royal Oak with a variety of art, food and music for the community to enjoy. More than 415,000 visitors attended the 2016 Ford Arts, Beats & Eats.

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

Speak Your Mind