I have used the phrase “Arts, Beats & Eats” at least ten times on my social media pages this week. Unless you are from my neck of the woods, you are probably wondering what the heck I am talking about it. Here ya go!
Arts, Beats & Eats is a summer festival in Oakland County that celebrates arts, music, food, and humanity. 2013 marked the 16th year of this popular festival that takes place in the heart of downtown Royal Oak.
Before we moved here, I remember Scott saying he attended a fun festival on one of his trips up. This was it! Exactly one year later, I attended my first AB&E not only as a Michigan resident, but also as a dancer!
A group of ten of us represented the Pistons at the festival last Saturday afternoon. Throughout the weekend, we took turns making appearances, and a group of eight performed a few of our routines on one of the main stages during my shift at the booth.
A few hours later, I stayed with the group to shuttle back to my car to change and planned to return to the festival with Scott as a patron!
(More than a little hungry, I was glad to find the KIND booth on the way out.)
I met Scott at my car, quickly changed, and just like that we were ready to re-enter the festival to have some fun.
The first thing we came across was the mini-carnival! We didn’t venture out too far into it, since there was plenty other areas we wanted to check out… along with the fact that I am a bit scared of carnival rides.
Really. (Remember my love/hate relationship with roller coasters?) I have gotten sick on or directly after a handful of them, and you know what? I’m good. I could go my entire life without riding another and be perfectly okay with it. The ferris wheel, however, is one I will always be open to!
(Maybe when the skies aren’t so gray.) 😉
The first thing we needed to do was purchase tickets. Instead of cash, almost every booth only took tickets as a form of payment.
A sheet of sixteen cost $10, and if I had to guess how many we bought I couldn’t. Sneaky little system isn’t it?
With a few sheets of tickets in hand, we made our way through the crowds to start my favorite part any big festival: the Eats.
Keep in mind that this was during Labor Day Weekend when I noted in last week’s WIAW that I did not pay much attention to my normal healthy diet ways. It happens every once in a while, and as long as I get back on track the next day or so I am completely on board with the occasional splurge day. First stop: Mackinac Fudge!
Both Scott and I have a weakness for fudge, and we just couldn’t pass up the caramel turtle flavor. Throughout the entire festival, we enjoyed what you see below including a Greek salad, lamb over rice, and steak skewers.
While I am not normally the biggest fan of red meat, I make an exception in situations like this and like to branch out and try new things when Scott shows interest in them.
Next, we found the Arts area and enjoyed wandering around booth after booth to admire the local handy work.
Most of it was very unique, and if some of it was a bit more affordable, a piece or two might have been going home with us.
The most unique part had to have been the artist who made pieces strictly out of children’s toys, frames, and spray paint!
We decided to go say hello to some co-workers at the Pistons booth and on our way stumbled upon the Deaf Arts Festival.
Here, we found an entire section of the festival dedicated to honor the deaf community: both artists and festival patrons alike.
“The mission of the Deaf Arts Festival is to celebrate the arts by exploring diverse, quality visuals and performing arts through the support of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing population. The essence of this organization is to enrich and educate the audience through personal interaction among Deaf and Hard of Hearing artists.” -DAF Website
We decided to take a stroll through the area and became quite impressed by both the work and community. It was a quiet and calm part of the festival, and it was really neat to see everyone signing around us!
Eventually, we made it over to our home booth and found a few familiar faces, including our friend, Stephanie, of the Cheer Team. Of course, Scott had to put on his manager hat and fix the sign when he thought the lettering didn’t stand out enough.
He really does make me giggle sometimes.
Knowing we would be returning to the festival again the next day, we decided to call it a night and made our way towards the exit.
While doing so, a jewelry booth caught my eye and I was instantly drawn to this wrap around bracelet! Normally priced in the $80 range, I managed to score both the wrap around and gold cross bracelet for $40.
Gotta love festival bargaining!
While that purchase ended our first day at the festival, we returned the very next day to enjoy the Beats!
We showed up right around 8:30 p.m. with the intention to catch the one and only MC Hammer perform on the main stage!
As you can imagine, seeing him perform live was both awesome and comical. As songs like U Can’t Touch This and 2 Legit 2 Quit came on, we couldn’t help but start our own dance party and join in on the fun happening on stage.
Our friend, Kylee, was there with us and we had an absolute blast!
Arts. Beats. and some serious Eats: Check! This festival was everything I expected it to be and we had a great few days of soaking in some Detroit culture. We plan to attend again next year, and I am curious to see what kind of artists will be on the line up.
Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend so far and are able to get out and enjoy something outside. The weather (here at least) is gorgeous!