Despite a drop in attendance this year, the 16th annual Arts, Beats & Eats festival presented checks totaling $386,820.54 - a record for the 4-day event - to more than 60 charitable and cultural organizations at the Boys & Girls Club of South Oakland County today.
"It's our most bountiful year ever," said L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County executive.
Event producer Jon Witz handed out checks to the Boys & Girls Club, Royal Oak Jaycees, Royal Oak Women’s Club, Royal Oak High School's Interact club, Royal Oak Historical Society, Royal Oak Association of Retailers, Royal Oak Restaurant Association and many other Royal Oak groups and religious organizations.
This year, 355,000 people visited Ford Arts, Beats & Eats.
"I am very pleased with the results that we saw and very pleased with the fact that we were able to generate record amounts of charitable donations this year," said Mike O'Brien, Detroit Regional Sales Manager for Ford and Lincoln.
Ford has been the title sponsor for four consecutive years. O'Brien announced Ford will be back in 2014, too.
Royal Oak is the 'big winner'Royal Oak community organizations were the big winners today, according to Witz. Of all the donations, $141,528 was shared between organizations and nonprofits that call Royal Oak home.
"Our (attendance was) a little bit down and maybe that's OK because we walked out of this one with the most smoothly run event since we've been putting it on," said Mayor Jim Ellison. "Everyone had a good time and everything flowed well - and the bands ended on time!"
"Certainly from our festival's perspective, your municipality has just been outstanding," Witz said.
He added the Arts, Beats & Eats festival had stiff competition this year, including the State Fair in Novi, Jazzfest in Detroit, four sold-out Tiger games and the return of the Hamtramck Labor Day Festival. Still, he said, the most people came to Royal Oak on Labor Day weekend.
"We were number one, by far," he said.
Witz joked another festival record was broke this year.
"We had the fewest number of concerns at a commission meeting this year. There were zero," he said.