"Working with churches is more than just community collaboration for us. It's essential," said ABE producer Jon Witz.
Support from downtown churches is invaluable, according to Witz. For example, St. Mary Catholic and Royal Oak First United Methodist supply parking spaces for downtown residents, such as those living in The Fifth condominiums.
"We are very thankful to all the churches we work with," Witz said. "They take their energy and positive messages and they kick off our day."
Here's how Royal Oak churches get into the act.
Genesis writes the book on entertaining kidsPastor Drew Hunter of Genesis Church recognizes Arts, Beats & Eats might, at times, be a bit overwhelming for families.
"That's why we host art and crafts at the Kid's Zone," said Hunter. "We provide a shaded environment for kids and their families to sit down and do a craft."
Having a place for children to chill out has been incredibly popular, he said. About 60 Genesis volunteers assist children with a variety of free crafts.
"We just want to be a good community partner," Hunter said.
ROFUM Sings PraisesRoyal Oak First United Methodist Church (ROFUM) offers a service on the International Stage at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The service includes a musical performances by ROFUM musicians and vocalists.
Located on Seventh Street in downtown Royal Oak, ROFUM is within the footprint of festival.
For worshippers attending the service, admission to the festival will be free. Free parking will also be available at Royal Oak High School, 1500 Lexington Blvd. Shuttle buses will bring people to the International Stage. Parking passes are required and are available to download and print at www.ROFUM.org.
St. Paul turns water bottles into win
For the fourth year, St. Paul Lutheran's 200 volunteers' main objective will be to make sure all plastics, glass and returnables discarded at the festival are recycled.
"Last year we actually filled a 40-yard dumpster. This year we have two 30-yard dumpsters and a 10-yard one for glass. We do a pretty good job of filling them up," said Tony Valdes, a youth leader at St. Paul.
Volunteers encourage festivalgoers to use recycling bins but a lot of people don't use them, according to Valdes.
"So we give our volunteers rubber gloves and a shirt that says 'Green Team' and we send them out there and they actually dig through garbage."
The recycling effort is a win-win situation. Volunteers help keep the festival neat and tidy and recycling proceeds go to the church, which St. Paul uses to help send youth to summer camps among other things.
St. Mary raises money for youth groupsThe St. Mary Young Adult Group co-hosts a beverage booth at festival, along with the St. Mary Elementary School, where volunteers sell pop and water.
"We get a significant amount of the money we make, which will help pay for future events," the St. Mary Young Adult Group writes on its Facebook page.
Volunteers also receive wristbands that will allow entry to the ABE festival for the entire weekend for free.
First Congregational Church runs with the artsRev. John Miller, senior minister at First Congregational Church, runs two art projects at Arts, Beats & Eats.
Looking for a way to express creativity on a broadscale, Miller oversees two large canvases during the festival's Arts in Motion races.
Using a crew of volunteers from his church, he sets up canvases on Fourth Street and another at the finish line. Runners are invited to throw paint at each.
"I really enjoy it," Miller said. "I am really happy with how both projects turned out."
The collection of Fourth Street canvases will given to the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Michigan to be auctioned off. The finish line project will be donated to Michigan Youth Arts.