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Arts Beats & Eats: Love It Or Hate It In Royal Oak?

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(credit: artsbeatseats.com)

(credit: artsbeatseats.com)

sandramcneill Sandra McNeill
After graduating from the University of Michigan, Sandra McNeill...
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ROYAL OAK (WWJ) - Arts, Beats and Eats will spend its second year this weekend in Royal Oak. Do you like it there or hate it?

WWJ’s Sandra McNeill took to the streets of Royal Oak and was hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t like the big Labor Day event.

Mike Blaga lives in a downtown loft on Main Street and he said he’s been anticipating this weekend all summer.

“My plan is Friday, when I get home from work, my vehicle is going to be parked in the garage and my refrigerator will be well stocked. The car’s not coming out until Monday sometime.”

Blaga said the late night concerts are the best part of the festival.

“You hear it loud and clear. I had friends over last year and we sat up in my loft, opened up the windows and really enjoyed the concerts from the comfort of my place.”

Cary Heller is a Royal Oak resident and jazz musician. His only complaint is wishing they’d move the festival to another weekend.

“It pains me a little bit to see that it directly affects the Jazz Festival and its success and that’s something that Detroit needs really badly,” Heller said.

Dr. Katherine Knox isn’t so much interested in the music, she’s just glad the festival brings commerce to the area.

“I think it’s great for the commerce and great for the local businesses,” she said.

But Laura Harrison, owner of The Lady Bug Boutique Shop on Sixth Street, said she has mixed views about the festival. She said the set up this week has been causing occasional gridlock and parking problems for her customers.

“The place was just beer truck after beer truck after beer truck. And  nobody could move, it was gridlock. I mean, we’re kind of used to gridlock with the train going through, but it goes through, it doesn’t stand still for an hour.”

To add to that, Harrison said her sales were disappointing last year.

“As retailers, we’re not allowed to put anything outside. We’re not even allowed to put a sign outside and I think that’s wrong. I mean, we’re here 24-7 and we pay the taxes down here. I’ve been here for 28 years and all we’d like to do is maybe just put a little advertisement outside.”

Harrison said she’ll give the festival one more try before deciding whether to just shut up shop during certain festival days.

The 14th annual Arts, Beats and Eats will be held over Labor Day weekend in downtown Royal Oak, September 2-5. For more information, click here.

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