Excitement is building, as the 19th annual Ford Arts Beats and Eats is scheduled to return to Royal Oak this Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 2-5. As announced in a special press conference this afternoon, several festival staples will be returning: the curated art show, numerous music performances on nine stages, and a food sampling of over 40 restaurants will all serve to highlight the best that metro Detroit and beyond has to offer.
The festival will also feature its annual 5K and 10K runs, its annual Deaf Arts festival highlighting performing and visual arts by deaf artists, and the return of the Ford Ride and Drive event, which will allow people to test drive such Ford models as the Super Duty, Escape, and Fusion. The Zumbathon Celebration, a dance fitness extravaganza very popular at last year's event, will also be making a return.
This year's incarnation of Arts Beats and Eats will also sport several new features. Chief among them is the Meters Made Beautiful project, an initiative in which up to 150 parking meters in Royal Oak will be painted with a custom design by local artists a week before the festival with art supplies donated by Ford. The best designs will then be appraised and awarded based on a jury and a festivalgoer vote, with winners receiving cash prizes.
Credit: Andrew Withers
Maria Elliott puts the finishing touches on her illustrated parking meter for the Meters Made Beautiful project.
Another first will be the festival's #ABEHunt16, a social media scavenger hunt that will encourage festivalgoers to find objects and places in and around Arts, Beats and Eats and post them to the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Facebook page. Participants will have a chance to win prizes for every photo they post, and can earn an additional contest entry if they use the Soaring Eagle Snapchat geofilter. Prizes include stays at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, golf outings, spa vouchers and dining packages.
Also new at Arts, Beats and Eats this year are several initiatives in order to enhance autism awareness and make the festival more accessible to those affected by autism. Select families with a member on the autism spectrum will be able to enjoy free parking and admission, free carnival rides, and free lunch for the first 750 registrants each day. Participating families will also be able to access the festival an hour before it opens to the public to use the carnival privately.