Ford Motor Co. to have presence at Arts, Beats & Eats for first time

As a salute to the many past community contributions of the Ford Motor Company and to rally support during this rough economic climate, Arts, Beats & Eats — Festival of Hope organizers have provided Ford with free exhibit space and complementary sponsorship benefits during the festival.

The 12th annual Arts, Beats & Eats is held over Labor Day weekend, Friday through Monday in downtown Pontiac. The four-day festival will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday through Sunday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. Admission is $2. For additional public information, go to the Web site or call (248) 334-4600.

Valued at $50,000 each, Ford, as well as Chrysler LLC and General Motors, will receive a 3,500-square-foot exhibit space, which is large enough to display vehicles. They also will receive significant signage space, logo placement on entrance treatments and sponsor towers, and a major presence on the festival’s Web site as well as mentions in festival advertising.

Additionally, there will be a Big Three Music Stage, which will serve as a tribute to local Detroit-area musicians. Messages about “Buy From the Big Three, Support Detroit” will be broadcast throughout the festival.

The exciting displays are one of the many family-oriented features of the festival.

“We are excited to share details of the fantastic music, food and children’s programming that has made Arts, Beats & Eats one of the premier festivals in the Midwest,” said Jon Witz, Arts, Beats & Eats producer. “Earlier, we promised a lineup similar to past years and we are proud about what we are able to deliver.”

The music headliners include Seattle alternative rockers Candlebox, which is known for such hits as “Change” and “Far Behind.” They will perform on Friday. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, known for chart toppers “I Love Rock & Roll,” “Crimson & Clover” and “Bad Reputation” will headline the Michigan Lottery main stage on Saturday.

Sunday will feature an eclectic mix of R&B superstar Angie Stone and renowned jazz musician Keiko Matsui along with Alexander Zonjc & Friends and James Lloyd (Pieces of A Dream). Monday will deliver country music singer and songwriter Phil Vassar and alternative rockers Puddle of Mudd, taking the main stage.

In addition to the Michigan Lottery main stage, there will be five other stages featuring some of the area’s top local talent. The full music schedule can be found by going to the festival Web site.

Festival attendees will have the opportunity to sample fine dining, ethnic and kosher food this year from several of metropolitan Detroit’s finest restaurants including Tribute, Forte, Sangria, Northern Lakes Seafood Co. and Milk & Honey. As part of these additions, the festival will present the Forte Café featuring Tribute, which will be a sit-down dining tent featuring table service, live music, wines, special décor and other amenities. The café will feature Michigan-inspired menu items by award-winning chefs and allow guests to take a break from the crowds in an intimate outdoor atmosphere.

No items served will cost over $5.

New to the festival this year is an exhibit called Sight & Sound on Pike Street east of Saginaw and west of Perry. This collaboration with the Crofoot Ballroom, 323East and Real Detroit Weekly is a showcase of emerging art, music, film and other artistic expressions. The exhibit will feature more than 15 of Detroit’s best bands and disc jockeys. It also will boast a large tent showcasing Detroit’s emerging creative culture, live painting, interactive art installations and more.

The festival will also feature double the seating areas of previous years with the addition of Flagstar Bank Relaxation Stations. These five stations will be located throughout the festival and offer visitors the opportunity to cool off in the shade. Several of the relaxation stations will also feature five-minute massages courtesy of Irene’s Myomassology Institute.

Children are the focus of the Detroit Public Television (DPTV) Kid’s Zone, with fun interactive entertainment on the US Park Kid’s Stage, Metro Parent arts and crafts activities, special appearances by PBS characters Super WHY and Arthur. Additionally, the Kids Zone features a carnival, pony rides, petting zoo, inflatable activities and more.

All children’s arts and crafts will have special volunteers from JARC to work with kids of all abilities and special needs. Additionally, these volunteers will make individual invitations to families across metro Detroit to make all children feel special.

New to the Kid’s Zone is the Kids on the Block Puppet Show (KOTB) presented by Beaumont Children’s Hospital HOPE Center at 1 p.m., Saturday and 12:30 p.m., Sunday. Based in Columbia, Md., KOTB is an international educational puppet company, which develops programs on disability awareness, educational and medical differences and social concerns. The puppeteers will perform in a dramatic and expressive style based on the ancient Japanese form of puppetry, Bunraku. Puppet character Eddy Franklin talks about what it is like for his big brother David to have autism. In addition, the puppet characters will invite questions from the audience about autism.

Also part of the youth programming, the Oakland County Summer Arts Project will showcase the works of area youth as their art projects will be set up throughout the festival. Presented by Oakland County Schools and supported by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, the arts projects is a competition for students ages 6 to 12 who submitted an original artwork in any medium that was created this summer for a chance to win prizes.

Returning to the festival this year are the ITC Greenways, presented by MetroPCS. Despite budget cuts, the festival continues its commitment to “Going Green.” The festival will continue its sustainability in 2009 by recycling all trash, using biodegradable products, limiting the printing of event programs, and providing financial incentives for participating restaurants to use biodegradable products. Three blocks of the festival are devoted to an array of non-profit environmental displays and exhibits promoting environmental initiatives and earth friendly products.

The HealthPlus Juried Fine Arts Show, one of the nation’s top juried art shows, returns this year. It features an array of specialties including ceramics, fabric and fiber, leather, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture, wood, digital art, drawing, graphics and printmaking, glass, jewelry and metal. This year, the show adopted an online application process, opening it to artists all across the United States. Festival patrons have the opportunity to peruse works at more than 140 booth spaces.

As a festival sponsor, Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort will be awarding hotel getaways and concert tickets throughout the festival. Soaring Eagle Giveaways and Getaways will feature tickets for performances by Jim Gaffigan, Loretta Lynn, Charlie Pride, cash prizes and more as part of their Fall Into Cash promotion. Full contest information, as well as rules and regulations, is available at Festival goers also can enter to win two weekends at Boyne Adventure courtesy of Boyne Mountain Resorts by visiting their booth during the festival.

To help offset the admission fee, Arts, Beats & Eats also is announcing a new lineup of festival values that will help quests save money. This plan includes offering no food item more than $5, free admission and parking during certain hours on Free Friday, a free bottled water and carnival rides to family members in the first three hours of operation on Saturday through Monday, a decrease in the overall parking fee of 20 percent and with other values.