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Interested in having your non-profit 501-C3 organization participate in the 2015 Ford Arts, Beats & Eats?  Download the 2015 Beverage Charity Application here.  Applications are due to Beverage Coordinator Shannon Ferrante at by May 1, 2015. 


The 2014 Ford Arts, BEats & Eats raised $360,820 from gate admission, beverage proceeds, the FirstMerit Community Challenge, Arts Du Jour charity preview event and other festival sponsored community initiatives. The total is the second largest in festival history and supported nearly 75 non-profit and community organizations that benefited from the total amount raised from this year’s festival, which again took place in downtown Royal Oak. 

“Ford Arts, Beats & Eats has become one of our area’s most significant annual events,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “This Labor Day weekend tradition provides tremendous financial impact for local businesses of all sizes, its numerous charities, participants and partners, as well as for the City of Royal Oak and Oakland County. On top of it all, festivalgoers experience unlimited enjoyment with more entertainment, food and cultural exposure than anywhere else in the area.”

More than 360,000 people visited Ford Arts, Beats & Eats this past Labor Day weekend. Of those, 116,709 were paid admissions while the remainder consisted of festival patrons whose attendance was gained through a variety of health-related and community programs as well as sponsors, stakeholders and those who took advantage of early admission on the opening day of the festival. And, of significant note, two major festival health initiatives saw an increase in participation as the Priority Health Arts in Motion 5K/10K Walk/Run presented by Life Time Fitness saw an increase to 521 runners from 419 last year; and the Priority Health Zumbathon® Celebration had 1,216 participants this year versus 771 last year.

The community initiatives also proved popular this year. Oakland County Parks’ Veterans Admission Program gave 2,000 veterans and family members free admission to the festival. The third annual Family Days for Children with Autism gave 1,600 children on the ASD spectrum and family members a complimentary visit. Also, the fifth annual food drive hosted by FirstMerit Bank benefitting Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan collected 3,175 pounds of non-perishable items, providing 2,635 meals, in exchange for free admission.

“This year’s Ford Arts, Beats & Eats was especially fulfilling,” explained Jon Witz, event producer. “With the participation up across the board in community and health programs, the festival has become more impactful than ever for the metro Detroit area and we thank all of our partners for their roles in making this happen.”

The FirstMerit Foundation Community Challenge, a crowd-sourced charity competition through the online platform, returned for a second year and has totaled $185,344 to date. It has empowered Ford Arts, Beats & Eats nonprofit partners and festival visitors to raise critical additional funding for their important community missions.

“Partnering with Ford Arts, Beats & Eats is a point of pride for Ford and the Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers,” said Mike O’Brien, Detroit Regional Sales Manager for Ford. “It provides an opportunity to make a positive difference in the community through involvement in such initiatives as Family Autism Days and Deaf Arts Festival while also sharing our newest products with the many people enjoying the festival.”

The preliminary figures on the economic impact of the festival on the area indicate that it brought in approximately $33,190,560. The total bar, restaurant and retail revenues were estimated at $11,262,022. These figures are based on the Michigan tourism spending and economic impact model (MITEIM) developed for Travel Michigan and the tourism industry within the state to help estimate the economic impacts of tourism-related projects.

Monies awarded by the festival were divided among many entities:

Gate proceeds of $106,250 went to 15 participating organizations:

  • American Red Cross
  • Autism Alliance
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of South Oakland County
  • The Children's Center
  • The Ted Lindsay Foundation HOPE Center
  • Detroit Public Television
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • Forgotten Harvest
  • JARC
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Play-Place for Autistic Children
  • The Rainbow Connection
  • Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
  • Stagecrafters
  • Volunteers of America

Proceeds from Beverage sales of $94,185 went to 28 participating charitable and cultural groups:

  • Aids Walk Detroit
  • Almost Home
  • Alpine Blind Skiers
  • Bat Busters
  • Blessings in a Backpack
  • Breast Cancer 3 Day
  • Empower
  • Imprints of the Heart
  • Independent Opp of Michigan
  • Interact of Royal Oak High School
  • Ivy House
  • Live the Music
  • Lutheran Adoption Services
  • Milford Huron Valley Lions Club
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Polish Women Alliance
  • Reverence Hospice / St. John Providence
  • Royal Oak Dance Team
  • Royal Oak Football Team, Inc.
  • Royal Oak Jaycees
  • Royal Oak Lion's Club
  • Royal Oak Women's Club
  • Shrine Catholic
  • South Oakland Shelter
  • St. Mary's Church
  • St. Paul’s Church
  • Starlites Parent Club

FirstMerit Foundation Community Challenge proceeds of $66,566 will go to eight charitable organizations:

  • ·   Rainbow Connection
  • ·   Boys & Girls Clubs of South Oakland County
  • ·   Children’s Center
  • ·   Autism Alliance
  • ·   The Ted Lindsay Foundation HOPE Center
  • ·   COTS
  • ·   Play-Place for Autistic Children
  • ·   Volunteers of America

Eleven charitable groups will receive a share of $39,250 from Arts Du Jour:

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of South Oakland
  • COTS
  • Forgotten Harvest
  • Matrix Human Services
  • Michigan Humane Society
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Play-Place for  Autistic Children
  • Rose Hill Center
  • Royal Oak High School
  • South Oakland Shelter
  • Arts, Beats & Eats Foundation

Three churches will share $11,130 from festival parking donations:

  • 1st Presbyterian Church of Royal Oak
  • Royal Oak First United Methodist
  • St. Mary's Church

Ten groups shared an additional $14,500:

  • St. John Providence Health Systems Breast Care Program
  • Life Time Foundation
  • Royal Oak Restaurant Association
  • Royal Oak Association of Retailers
  • Royal Oak Historical Society
  • Take 1 Community Outreach
  • St. Paul's Recycling Program
  • Royal Oak Arts Commission
  • Brooksie Way
  • Genesis The Church

The City of Royal Oak paid $9,000 in donations to nonprofit organizations that supported parking operations. Additionally, area cultural groups shared $10,850 in donations, while the Priority Health Arts in Motion 5K and 10K presented by Life Time Fitness generated $9,089, and just over $7,000 was generated from the Priority Health Zumbathon.

Local nonprofits and community organizations in Royal Oak also were big winners in this year’s festival.  Of all the donations, $106,104 was shared between community organizations and nonprofits that call Royal Oak home.   

“For the City of Royal Oak, the positive effects of Ford Arts, Beats & Eats  goes beyond the direct economic impact as it gives festival patrons inspiration to return to relive the good times they had at the event and enjoy the restaurants and shops they discovered,” said Royal Oak City Mayor Jim Ellison. 



Saturday morning will kick-off with the Priority Health Arts in Motion 5k, benefitting Michigan Youth Arts and Rock CF.   For more information, click here

Also on Saturday, Priority Health kicks off the Zumbathon celebration to benefit St. John Providence Health System Cancer Center of Excellence.  For more information, click here.



The Deaf Arts Festival is returning to the festival for the third time to present their wonderful & unique art on Labor Day Weekend.  This year's festival will be located on 7th Street.  For more information visit

2014 Participants Include

Iris Aranda

Chuck Borchers

Janna Dahl

Chapman Hom

Ellen Mansfield

Judy McClain-Lowrie

Mark Naeyaert

Stevie Naeyaert

Michelle Osterhout

Nancy Rourke

Ann Silver

Jim Van Manen

Darlene Weir