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Labor Day Fun! Guide To Ford Arts, Beats & Eats

Arts Beats and Eats
(credit: Arts Beats & Eats/Facebook(

Arts, Beats & Eats
Downtown Royal Oak
Royal Oak, MI
(248) 334-4600

Date: August 31 through September 3

Ford Arts, Beats & Eats was named the 4th best arts show in the US by the Art Fair Sourcebook and is a signature event in Royal Oak, drawing in 400,000 guests during Labor Day weekend. This year's festival runs from August 31st to September 3rd, 2012, and the entry fee is $3. Take time to stroll through the open-air alleys where you will find one surprise after another.

Related: 5 Must-Read Books By Detroit Authors

Art on the Sunny Side of the Street

There will be hundreds of local artists displaying their works whilst the luminaries featured in the Juried Fine Art Show share creativity, crowning the enriching weekend. These folks will be found on the sunny, southern side of the festival. Ford donated exhibit space for a Cultural Alliance Showcase where 10 regional arts organizations will be featured. One of the clever items which is popular at the festival is selectively-colored photography. The prints are presented mostly in black and white, but a splash of color is added to highlight select areas, creating a palette-conceptualized hybrid Kansas-meets-Munchkin-Land novelty. One-of-a-kind jewelry, designer couture with lavish embellishments, vivid paintings, marble sculptures and endless pieces wrought in mixed media will dazzle in the bright, airy aesthetic alley.

They're Playing Our Song

There will be over 200 performances during the Arts, Beats & Eats weekend with 10 different stages operating concurrently. The Cultural Alliance showcase will feature exhibits by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings. Music will run daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., except on the final night, when the stages go dark at 10 p.m. Michigan-based bands and solo performers fill the stages, performing original material that appeals to a wide variety of guests (no rap, heavy metal, hip hop or cover acts). Famous headliners have graced the stages in years past with stars like Montgomery Gentry, the B52's, Martina McBride and Rick Springfield. There is something to please everybody in tin pan alley.

The Thrill of the Grill

BBQ alley features both barbecue and grilled specialties. It's the easiest section to find - just follow the aroma as it wafts through the air. Ribs, pork shoulder and brisket are barbecued, meaning cooked slowly at low heat in order to absorb the rubs and smoking process. The grilled meats are chicken, steak, hamburgers and seafood. They are seared quickly on a high heat to keep the natural juices inside from escaping. Chefs season the meats one or two days in advance to give the rubs and spices a chance to meld, then marinate four to six hours (per inch) before cooking to produce the best flavors. Chefs hand blend creative marinades from oils and acids, meticulously arriving at a complementary balance best suited for the textures and most likely to generate rave impressions. You will find quality restauranteurs represented at Arts, Beats & Eats like The Oxford Inn, Heavenly Chicken and Waffles, Rub BBQ and Pub, Lockhart's BBQ, Mercurio's, Smokin Joe's Café and Jackson's 5-Star Catering.

Related: Best Barbecue In Detroit

Pedal Pushers

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are setting trends for green living. Kate and William prefer riding bikes to motorcars at their home in Anglesey, Wales. Building on that popular trend, Arts, Beats & Eats offers 1800 parking slots for bikes on Washington Street - one location just south of Lincoln Street and another near Second Avenue. The festival strongly encourages clean, green and healthy living, which is the hallmark of the Royal Oak community. Cyclists, also known as "spokes people," have a major presence in this youth-oriented, party-loving, progressive neck of the woods where the good times roll.

Romero Anton Montalban-Anderssen is the winner of the 2009 first prize in journalism from the Detroit Working Writers Organization. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University School of Law. He has seasonal residency in Detroit Michigan, The Italian Riviera, and Honolulu Hawaii. His work can be found at

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