It's about to get busy on Front Street, after city hall gave the final go-ahead for a weekly cruise night downtown.
On Thursday, Business Improvement Association chair Serge Carpino, together with a couple of car enthusiasts eager to hit the streets, met with ThoroldToday on Front Street to give a sneak peek into what's expected. His message was clear:
"It's full throttle," said Carpino. "And you can quote me on that!"
Downtown hasn't had a similar event since 2019, when Thorold had a recurring car show–but this one will take place every Friday, starting May 6. The city approved the cruise permit until November. No final date has been set yet.
"But we'll be here, every Friday from 5 P.M until dusk," Rick Robbs from Cruise Niagara said. "It's a great way to show off cars, and bring people together at the same time. People will come out and look at the classic cars and re-tell stories from their childhood."
Robbs isn't a stranger to pulling big gatherings together – Cruise Niagara has been pulling off some of the biggest events of its kind in Canada, and have the routine dialed in. Cruisers who join will get a ticket when they pull onto Front Street, which also will be offering a chance to win prizes. A flyer with local specials will also be handed out to visitors.
"That's what we are hoping for," Serge Carpino said. "The whole family coming down herte and spending a couple of hours, maybe grab a sandwich or a drink, and look at the rides, and all that our downtown has to offer."
As chair of the local BIA, Carpino said it's time to make use of the reinvented downtown strip, which despite the pandemic has been faring well.
"One thing we can pat ourselves on the back for is that we brought at least 10 new businesses to town during the pandemic," said Carpino. "Downtown has never been at this stage during my years as Chair."
A number of sponsors have come through for the event, and 'not a penny' has come from city hall or the taxpayers.
Some downtown residents have voiced their concerns for the weekly traffic closure, which will run from the top of Front Street down to approximately Regent Street.
"There won't be any problems or disruptions," said Carpino. "We have had public meetings, and the city has given the go-ahead. We just think this is a great way to bring business to downtown."