Meadville Tribune

Local News

July 13, 2014

'Thunder' in the forecast for early August

MEADVILLE — A weekend of free family fun in downtown Meadville that also raises money for a good cause is right around the corner as planning for the Aug. 1 and 2 annual Thunder in the City Classic Car and Bike show enters the final stretch.

Several thousand people are expected downtown starting at 5 p.m. Aug. 1 as Diamond Park, Chestnut Street, and Park Avenue between Arch and North streets becomes the focus of activity.

With a number of additional features yet to be confirmed, several events have been added this year, including a Cornhole tournament operated by the Crawford Area Young Chamber of Commerce on Saturday with two-player team action beginning at 1 p.m. Teams that register in advance save $5 on the $15 day-of registration fee. Dave Astry at (716) 969-2766 or david.astry@raymondjames.com has information.

Also new this year is The Friends of Drake Well’s Mobile Energy Education Training Unit. This tractor-trailer full of educational, interactive displays spreads awareness of energy creation, development and utilization. Since opening in the summer of 2009, the unit has been visited by more than 90,000 people in a number of cities, towns, fairs and other events in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio, according to the Friends. During Thunder in the City, the unit will be parked on Chestnut or Park downtown while it is open for free tours.

And a new feature is set for the fourth annual Rusty Hanaway Memorial Bike Parade, which attracts hundreds of motorcyclists. This year, the company or  business with the largest number of riders in the parade will receive a trophy to display for the coming year. The parade leaves from Street, Track ‘n’ Trail on the Conneaut Lake Road at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and runs to Park Avenue downtown.

As usual, there is no admission fee and back again this year are beloved Friday favorites including three major highlights — the Lang Motors Car Cruise-In starting at 5 p.m. at the Lang lot, the Channellock Challenge Bike Competition at 6 p.m. in the parking lots next to Mickey’s on Park Avenue, and fireworks at 9:30.

Live music on a stage set up just north of the Chestnut-Park intersection starts at 6 p.m. Friday and also runs from noon past 7:30 p.m. Saturday when headliners Rick and the Roadhouse Rockers start playing. Food and ware vendors will be set up along Chestnut from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Saturday includes classic cars at Diamond Park from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with COOL 101.7 FM’s Do Wopp Diner show from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Diamond also features free inflatables, games and other kid-friendly fun from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Corvettes parade into downtown from Community Chevrolet at 10:45 a.m. Saturday and motorcycles make a run from ERIEBANK downtown to Perry Street Station in Titusville and back starting at 2 p.m.

Vendors interested in selling wares at the event are urged to sign up promptly by filling out and submitting a form available now at the Meadville-Western Crawford County Chamber of Commerce website or calling 337-8030.

The event is free thanks to local sponsors, Chamber Executive Director Christa Battin pointed out. Any money raised above and beyond what it takes to put on the event is put into a special Chamber fund that will be used to improve downtown Meadville. Last year, $5,000 was put into the fund, explained Thunder in the City organizing committee founding member Dave Stone, owner of Mickey’s Central Fire Station Restaurant and Lounge. “My dream is that someday money raised from this event will be used to boost the economy of downtown Meadville,” he said, adding that things like façade improvement grants or low-interest loans to businesses may be possible.

Battin also stresses Thunder in the City is a way for downtown businesses to improve their lot right now. Pointing out that the event draws in people from across the region, she urges all downtown businesses to be open in order to welcome and educate out-of-towners about what’s available here. “It would be great if we can use this like an awareness campaign,” she said.

 

Vendors – act now

If you are a vendor interesting in selling wares in the downtown Meadville open-air marketplace during Thunder in the City Aug. 1 and 2, you need to act now to reserve your space. An application form is available at meadvillechamber.com or call 337-8030.

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