This week, the end-of-summer festival known as Arts, Beats and Eats takes place in downtown Royal Oak. It is Royal Oak’s first year of hosting the event; the previous years’ venue was in downtown Pontiac at the Phoenix Center.
I’ve watched with amusement as several blocks of the downtown area have been cordoned off and fenced in. Streets have been closed. Traffic rerouted. There’s the arrival of carnival workers and vendors. There is nothing like a huge ferris wheel on a tiny plot of ground where none stood before. There have been heated discussions on whether or not to allow people with concealed weapons permits onto the festival grounds. (The CCW people won.)
This weekend marks a tremendous upheaval in placid, little Royal Oak. Sure, during the ordinary summer weekend there are art fairs and farmers’ markets and the world’s largest garage sale. Since Woodward Avenue is a half mile away, the downtown area is largely unaffected by Dream Cruise traffic. No, in comparison, this event is huge.
Private businesses have opened up their lots for parking. (Unfortunately, our business is a little farther away from the action and we will not be able to capitalize on our piece of asphalt.) The city has been kind enough to issue parking passes to its residents so that it will be legal to park in front of your own home. No parking pass = $50 ticket. Ouch!
I live four blocks from downtown and while I am happy to see a spurt of commerce and capitalism, I won’t be attending. For one thing, it’s $3 to get into the downtown area and $15 a pop to park. For another, my life is exciting enough without having to go on a thrill ride.
I need the weekend for quiet.