From left, Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Executive Director of Marketing, Entertainment & Sales Raul Venegas; Flagstar Bank Director of Corporate Responsibility Beth Correa; festival producer Jon Witz; Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter; Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority Chair Jay Dunstan; and Detroit News Editorial Page Editor Nolan Finley stand with a check representing the total amount raised from Arts, Beats & Eats for local charities at the Flagstar Bank corporate headquarters Oct. 2.

From left, Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Executive Director of Marketing, Entertainment & Sales Raul Venegas; Flagstar Bank Director of Corporate Responsibility Beth Correa; festival producer Jon Witz; Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter; Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority Chair Jay Dunstan; and Detroit News Editorial Page Editor Nolan Finley stand with a check representing the total amount raised from Arts, Beats & Eats for local charities at the Flagstar Bank corporate headquarters Oct. 2.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Arts, Beats & Eats gives $233,000 back to local charities

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published October 8, 2019

 Ferndale-based musician Acoustic Ash provides the live entertainment for an Arts, Beats & Eats charitable check distribution event at the Flagstar Bank corporate headquarters Oct. 2.

Ferndale-based musician Acoustic Ash provides the live entertainment for an Arts, Beats & Eats charitable check distribution event at the Flagstar Bank corporate headquarters Oct. 2.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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ROYAL OAK — On Oct. 2, Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats, presented by Flagstar Bank, announced the grand total that this year’s festival had awarded to its more than 50 local charity partners — $233,049.26, a 12% increase from last year.

Representatives from the charities gathered at Flagstar Bank’s corporate headquarters in Troy to accept their checks. A multitude of sources contributed to the funds, including gate admission fees, beverage proceeds and festival-sponsored community initiatives.

 “All the nonprofits here today earned their check, not only by doing good work in the community every day, but specifically helping put our festival on,” said Raul Venegas, Soaring Eagle’s executive director of marketing, entertainment and sales. “The organizations here today provide critical volunteers, important parking lots and other key resources to make our event possible.”

The four-day event annually attracts approximately 350,000 visitors and includes a juried art fair, 190 live musical performances and more than 40 local food vendors. It began in Pontiac in 1998 and, 10 years ago, moved to downtown Royal Oak.

“This really is Oakland County’s sort of end-of-summer celebration, and what a celebration it has become over 22 years now,” Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said.

Coulter also took a moment to recognize his predecessor, the late L. Brooks Patterson, who co-founded the festival and died Aug. 3 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

“I know how proud he was of this event and to watch it grow over the years,” he said. “To see it become an event that raised almost a quarter of a million dollars for our local charities is just amazing.”

Jay Dunstan, the chair of the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority, said charities in Royal Oak received a total of $90,772 from this year’s festival.

Because of parking fees collected by the DDA, festival producer Jon Witz said all city services have been covered over the years.

“Royal Oak is such a dynamic city to host the event in. There’s so many fun businesses that provide the backdrop for the event,” Witz said. “Since we’ve been in Royal Oak, we have not had one major incident or injury or problem.”

A food drive conducted at Flagstar Bank branches led to the distribution of more than 3,500 meals to families through Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. Kroger’s Zero Hunger Zero Waste program, in partnership with Forgotten Harvest, delivered 1,866 pounds of rescued food to local homeless shelters.

This year, the seventh annual Family Days, a collaboration with the Autism Alliance of Michigan, provided more than 2,100 children on the autism spectrum and their families with a complimentary day of fun, including parking, lunch and unlimited carnival rides.

“We opened the festival an hour early due to the issues that kids on the spectrum might have with sensory and other things,” Witz said.

According to organizers, Arts, Beats & Eats has donated nearly $5.5 million to charitable organizations since its inception.

For more information about the festival, visit www.artsbeatseats.com or call (248) 334-4600.

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

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