Spring has sprung and warm temps herald the kickoff of Hope’s 2021 First Fridays Cruise-In to Hope season at 5 p.m. Friday, May 7th on the town square.

Car collectors and enthusiasts from around the area are invited to come and check out some sweet all-original and custom cars and trucks or even bring their own rides to show off on the square that evening.

Those who want to get an early-bird preview can arrive early to check out the participating vehicles as they are setting up.

The free three hour event will take place against a rockin’ soundtrack offered by Hope’s own Night Owl Country Band, who will perform from 6 to 8 p.m.

As COVID restrictions are eased and some semblance of normalcy returns, event organizers and participants are hoping for a great turnout for an event that historically draws hundreds.

“We are ready to get back into action as musicians and artists, not just as humans,” says Matt Lee, Night Owl Country Band’s lead singer. “We hope everyone brings friends and family.”

Lee says the band’s performance is part of their 2021 “Off the Tracks” tour, which will also include multiple stops in Indiana, as well as Wisconsin, Idaho and Florida.

Ron Cornett, owner of Cornett’s Corner Café, says his café will be offering a general menu and folks can order in or take out.

“We’ve been barely keeping our head above water throughout all this mess,” Cornett says.

For many business owners, like Cornett, who are working hard to keep everything afloat, increased foot traffic and sales will be a welcomed sight that evening.

Likewise, Vicki Tedder, co-owner of WILLow LeaVes of Hope, says she is also looking forward to a festive evening of good food, good people and cool cars.

Tedder admits that she’s not only hoping for beautiful weather, but she’s really excited to hear NOCB perform.

“I love the Night Owl band,” she says. “I am hoping our doors can be open that evening so we can listen to them.”

Reflecting on last season, Tedder says the few Cruise-Ins that were held offered some normalcy despite it being in the early months of the pandemic.

Now, as restrictions are eased, Tedder shares Lee’s sentiment and says it seems time to get things moving again.

“Last year we didn’t have many sit downs as people would order ahead and take food to go,” she says.

In addition to delicious food and great music, prizes for Oldest Vehicle, People’s Choice, and Musician’s Choice will be awarded that evening.

Monetary and non-perishable food item donations will also be accepted to support the Hope Food Bank and Cruise-In event expenses.

“Hopefully the weather will hold out,” Tedder says. “The better the weather the more people will turn out. I am hoping it is going to be good night for us all.”