RENSSELAER – With the weather producing summery conditions, organizers are planning several events for Rensselaer town center starting in May.
At Monday’s Rensselaer Town Council meeting, council members dealt with a handful of requests for street closures for summer events, including art in the Prairie Art Council Alley at Filson Park, the Little Festival Cousin Jasper at the end of summer and the Cylinders and Snacks event along Front Street.
Art in the Alley will take place on Saturday July 23 in Van Rensselaer and Kellner streets. PAC will use Filson Park, which is still in the development phase, for a marketplace of art, music and craft spaces.
The location was chosen because of its proximity to the REN ARTWLK murals along an alley that adjoins Janet’s Kitchen and the Rensselaer Republican Building.
Rein Bontrager, meanwhile, was on hand at Monday’s meeting to demand the closure of Front Street next to the eMbers site for cruises on Thursday evenings from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Cruises or Cylinders and snacks will start on May 26 and will continue. until the last Thursday of September.
This is the second year of the event, which allows car, motorcycle and truck enthusiasts to showcase their favorite modes of transportation to fellow enthusiasts. Bontrager said up to 35 vehicles are on display each week, with an average of 12 or more most nights.
“I felt we had enough car culture to do that here,” Bontrager said of Cruises.
The event gives cruise passengers a chance for camaraderie while perhaps grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many dining establishments downtown.
“We have a regular team that comes, but we also get car enthusiasts from other communities,” he said. “We get several spectators.”
Bontrager said he rides a number of his most prized possessions, including two VW Bugs and the latest addition to his collection, a Porsche 911.
“After 40 years of dreaming,” Bontrager said, “I finally have one.”
Modern vehicles mingle with hot rods, motorcycles and vintage vehicles on cruises, Bontrager added. The event is similar in style to those held at Crown Point and DeMotte.
“We also attract a lot of people from surrounding areas and counties,” he said. “This is very fun.”
The city has approved Little Cousin Jasper Festival committee member Pat Fox’s request to close the streets around the courthouse for this summer’s event, which is scheduled for Sept. 9-11. The festival will include craft and food stalls, children’s games, the King and Queen contest, music and a car show that will feature a $1,000 cash prize for best in show, a said Fox.