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How to get free admission to this week's Rock 'n' Rides in Royal Oak

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Rock ‘n’ Rides Royal Oak is a festival with a carnival, food trucks and live entertainment, but it's also a community fundraiser and a chance to kick off summer in an outdoor setting.

A carnival ride at Rock 'n' Rides in downtown Royal Oak.

Organized by the same team behind the annual Arts, Beats and Eats festival Labor Day weekend (also in downtown Royal Oak), Rock 'n' Rides has 18 carnival attractions including a circus train, merry-go-round, a super slide and zombie motel.

For thrills closer to the ground, the Royal Oak Block Party will take over the area of Fifth street between Center and Washington streets with electronic music DJs on either end of the zone. Here's where festival-goers will find food like barbeque, Mexican cuisine, fresh-squeezed lemonade and deep-fried treats. 

Detroit-based singer/songwriter Raye Williams

More music can be heard at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort stage. Some highlights include pop, rock and soul artist Raye Williams at 7 p.m. Friday, the Reefermen at 9 p.m. Saturday and the Corktown Popes at 6 p.m. Sunday. 

There's also a kids' area with live entertainment and activities, including free hands-on experiences with Arts & Scraps that is sponsored by The Detroit News. 

Producer Jon Witz says the event "signals hope and a sense of normalcy."

“People are eager to return outdoors for community events, and we’re happy to deliver that and still have safety protocols in place,” said Witz in a press release. “The event is a wonderful opportunity to bring the community together to feature local musicians, entertainers and food trucks, all excited to get back to work and  recover from challenges of the past year.”

Those who haven't been vaccinated yet can get free admission to Rock 'n' Rides by getting a shot at the Henry Ford Vaccine Clinic in the parking lot near the Rock on 3rd pub, which is open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thursday. Participants can also choose between getting a carnival wristband for any day of Rock 'n' Rides or a pair of tickets to Arts, Beats & East festival this Labor Day weekend. 

All attendees can get in free if they go 11 a.m-5 p.m. on Friday. 

Partial proceeds from admission, drink sales and carnival revenue will fund a variety of local nonprofits. Rock 'n' Rides kicks off with a Community Day presented by Kroger and The Detroit News. Organizers have teamed up with a variety of nonprofit partners like the Children's Center, the Rainbow Connection and others to offer 1,500 local families lunch and free carnival wristbands. 

Rock 'n' Rides Royal Oak 

5-11 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m-10 p.m. Sunday 

Downtown Royal Oak

$5 admission for everyone ages 3 and older (free admission 11 a.m-5 p.m. June 18)

$15-$28 all-day carnival wristbands or $3-$6 per individual ride

Mask recommended for those not vaccinated