A band performs at Rock ’N’ Rides Royal Oak last year. The summer festival will take place June 16-19 this year.

A band performs at Rock ’N’ Rides Royal Oak last year. The summer festival will take place June 16-19 this year.

Photo provided by Rock ’N’ Rides Royal Oak


Rock ’N’ Rides to return to downtown Royal Oak

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published May 11, 2022

 A family takes a turn on the giant slide at Rock ’N’ Rides Royal Oak last year.

A family takes a turn on the giant slide at Rock ’N’ Rides Royal Oak last year.

Photo provided by Rock ’N’ Rides Royal Oak

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ROYAL OAK — The downtown Royal Oak summer festival Rock ’N’ Rides will return for a third year from June 16 to 19, featuring a lineup of family activities and entertainment.

The festival, which premiered in 2019 and was canceled due to the pandemic in 2020, will come back strong with two new activities: ax throwing and an inflatable fun area.

Returning staples will include live local music, the largest carnival the “city has ever seen,” and a “diverse selection of the tastiest food trucks,” according to a press release.

“Rock ’n’ Rides Royal Oak has become the go-to destination to celebrate the start of summer in metro Detroit,” event producer Jon Witz said in a prepared statement. “The event is a wonderful opportunity to bring people together outdoors to enjoy live music, amusement rides and tasty treats, while also supporting charitable and community organizations to build a stronger community.”

This year, The HUB Stadium will provide ax throwing, located near Sixth and Center streets. Adults will be able to hurl 1.5-pound axes at wooden targets marked with a bullseye and score points based on where they hit. Professionals will be on-site to demonstrate and coach participants, according to the release.

The inflatable fun area, sponsored by Meijer, will cater to younger crowds. It will be located at Seventh and Center streets, near Oakland Community College, and will feature multiple bounce houses and other inflatables.

The carnival portion of the festival will include 18 rides and games, including the Cliffhanger, Ring of Fire, Screamer, Sizzler, Vertigo and more. Unlimited carnival wristbands cost $30, and individual ride tickets range from $3 to $5.

The festival will also include a large selection of activities for kids, including music, arts and crafts, face painting and more, according to the release.

Once again, organizers will host the Royal Oak Block Party along Fifth Avenue, between Washington Avenue and Center Street. The event will include music stages, offerings for grown-ups, and food trucks.

On Thursday, June 16, the festival will kick off with Community Day, presented by Henry Ford Health System. Community Day will allow 1,500 local children and their families to enjoy the carnival free of charge, as well as lunch, during the first four hours of the festival.

A portion of gate and beverage sales will again benefit more than 10 local charities and causes, which will be announced at a later date, according to the release.

“Rock ’N’ Rides is a time-honored tradition in Royal Oak, and it’s become a nice opportunity for families and other individuals not only in Royal Oak, but in the region, to attend and enjoy the festival,” Royal Oak City Manager Paul Brake said. “Our hope is that people who come to Rock ’N’ Rides stay and go to restaurants or shop at one of our stores.”

The festival will be open to the public from 4 to 11 p.m. June 16; from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 17 and 18; and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 19. Admission costs $5 before 5 p.m., $10 after 5 p.m. and is free for everyone before 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Royal Oak parking will operate as usual, with city parking structures offering the first two hours of parking for free and then 75 cents per hour afterward. Parking is free all day Sunday, June 19.

For more information, visit rocknridesro.com.

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