The city of Royal Oak temporarily renamed Washington Avenue to L. Brooks Boulevard in honor of the late Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who co-founded Arts, Beats & Eats.

The city of Royal Oak temporarily renamed Washington Avenue to L. Brooks Boulevard in honor of the late Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who co-founded Arts, Beats & Eats.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Arts, Beats & Eats draws diverse crowd

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published September 10, 2019

 Jill Jack and the American Songbook, a jazz band, performs on the Metro by T-Mobile R&B/Jazz Stage Sept. 2 during the 22nd annual Arts, Beats & Eats in downtown Royal Oak.

Jill Jack and the American Songbook, a jazz band, performs on the Metro by T-Mobile R&B/Jazz Stage Sept. 2 during the 22nd annual Arts, Beats & Eats in downtown Royal Oak.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ROYAL OAK — The 22nd annual Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats drew a diverse crowd to downtown Royal Oak over Labor Day weekend Aug. 30-Sept. 2. The festival annually draws more than 300,000 from both local and far-off places.

The event, which this year celebrated 10 years since its relocation from Pontiac to Royal Oak, featured a slew of new and returning artists, musicians, eateries and programming. 

 The juried fine art show recognized several artists, including Best in Show first-place winner Richard Wilson, of Greenville, North Carolina, for his drawings; second-place winners Antoine Raphael & Kalam McClore, of Detroit, for their jewelry; and third-place winner JD Dennison, of Chicago, for his digital art.

Dan Sayre, a metalsmith from Akron, Ohio, set up his booth at the festival for the ninth year this year. His functional artwork features unique, organic shapes and brushed, swirling patterns and includes mirrors, furniture, lamp shades and sculptures.

“I enjoy (Arts, Beats & Eats),” Sayre said. “I think it has a fun vibe, the people are entertaining and, for the most part, I’ve made money over the years.

Dwight Ragland and Lilybeth LaFevre, both of Detroit, visited the festival together. Within an hour of arriving, Ragland had picked up a set of Detroit-centric coasters and LaFevre had found a print featuring cows by photographer Bruce Jeffries Reinfeld.

LaFevre, a Philadelphia native, said that when she learned that the artist was from her hometown and also attended her alma mater, New York University, she had to purchase his artwork. Plus, she said, she loves cows.

“I’ve been here for three years and I’ve just never come,” LaFevre said. “It’s a nice day out to be walking around seeing all the things.”

More than 200 bands and live acts, including almost 20 new musicians, performed on nine stages. Notable bands included the All-American Rejects, Third Eye Blind, Theory of a Deadman, Night Ranger, Randy Houser, the Four Tops, Foghat and Beatlemania.

Daline Jones-Weber and her husband, Ron Weber, flew into town from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for a weekend of music and family. The pair were part of a group that watched Hannah Rose and the GravesTones, Jibs Brown & the Jambros, Nadir Omawale, Beatlemania and Os Clavelitos.

Jones-Weber, a professional singer, said she was impressed by the diversity of music.

“They were all so great,” Weber said. “Our primary reason for coming here was the jazz festival downtown happening this weekend, and then we got really enticed by what we saw here.”

New restaurants this year included Fogo de Chao, Prime 29 Steakhouse, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, Crispelli’s, Wahlburgers, Mezza Mediterranean Grill and Freshii.

Clarkston residents Heidi Greshem and Karry Osmun, who met at a Crossfit gym, enjoyed slices of Crispelli’s pizza after indulging in happy hour.

“(The pizza) is really good,” Greshem said. “I just like that you can walk around. It’s very diverse people watching. It’s way better than it was in Pontiac.”

In memory of longtime Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who died at age 80 from stage 4 pancreatic cancer Aug. 3, the city temporarily renamed Washington Avenue “L. Brooks Boulevard” and installed sign posts at intersections.

Patterson co-founded Arts, Beats & Eats in Pontiac.

“I’ve done every one of these events since we had it in Royal Oak, and this was probably, absolutely, the best as far as the fewest number of (ambulance) runs,” Royal Oak Assistant Fire Chief Jim Cook said. “It was a real good crowd. We pulled one on Friday, but I think the weather had a lot to do with it, and even though Sunday was our busiest day, we were never overwhelmed.”

Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue said police made one arrest during the whole festival on Monday night for obstructing police and disorderly conduct, but that the crowds were “very good.”

Police arrested a 38-year-old Portage man, whom police said was intoxicated, while first responders were rendering aid to a female who had fallen and was injured while attending the event. The man stated that he was an acquaintance of the female and tried several times to pull her away from first responders, and after repeated warnings, he was arrested, police said.

“I don’t know if we ever went through without a single arrest, but we found we have less arrests (during the festival) than we normally would have in a four-day stretch,” O’Donohue said. “The officers do a great job of being proactive. If they see somebody who’s overindulged or acting up, we escort them out of the festival.”

Arts, Beats & Eats drew approximately 343,000 people this year — 85,000 on Friday, 105,000 on Saturday, 85,000 on Sunday and 68,000 on Monday. O’Donohue said the rain Monday hampered attendance.

To date, the event has donated more than $5 million to local charities, according to officials.

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.

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