The event features 120 national artists working in clay and glass. New this year will be the addition of "Taste of Royal Oak," which includes food booths, wine and beer tent, entertainment stage, and children's activities area.
Bob Morton, owner of Lily's Seafood Grill, says that he's kept the larger picture in mind each June when he loses business because of the Clay & Glass Art Show. The two-day event is held on Washington Avenue, smack-dab in front of his restaurant.
He realizes that the popular show, ranked among the top 200 art shows in the nation, attracts approximately 35,000 people to the downtown and keeps them returning to the city, many to his business.
"It's great to see how many people come downtown for the Clay & Glass show," Morton said. "Personally, as a business owner, the show has not been beneficial from a monetary standpoint during the festival because it's difficult to get to our business, but we've always taken the view that it's great for Royal Oak."
Now, thanks to efforts from the Greater Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce, coordinator of the show, places like Lily's can get in on the action. Chamber of Commerce members went before the City Commission last week and won approval to add a "Taste of Royal Oak" portion to the Royal Oak Clay & Glass Festival, slated for 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 19 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 20.
"Taste of Royal Oak" will include six to eight food booths featuring local restaurants, and a wine-and-beer tent, between Fifth and Center streets. New additions also will be an entertainment stage featuring jazz and acoustic music, and a children's activities center at Seventh Street and Washington.
Chamber of Commerce members encouraged the City Commission to approve the changes, saying that though the 10th annual event will undoubtedly remain popular, it increasingly is competing against other summer art events.
"In its 10th year, this event needs a boost to compete in a very crowded metro Detroit calendar," said Chamber Executive Director Liz Tillander.
She said the fenced-in wine-and-beer tent will be staffed by the Class C liquor license holders and alcohol sales will be restricted from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Only those 21 and older and minors accompanied by parents will be admitted to the tent. Beer and wine consumption will be restricted to the tented area.
Commission members said they were impressed with the chamber's work with downtown businesses to bring them on board with the plan, but emphasized the need for those who staff the alcohol tent to be vigilant for those overindulging.
"I would ask that those employees that work in the tents, that dispense the beverages and the ones that work the gates, that the police department do whatever the chief thinks is appropriate ... to make sure servers know what to look for and to not serve intoxicated people," said Commissioner Terry Drinkwine.