Hope has been having cruise-ins on the Town Square for a long while. And the latest iteration, the first Friday of every month, seems to be the magic formula.

The events are more popular than ever, with the Sept. 6th cruise-in attracting 45 cars and trucks to the Town Square. Total attendance was estimated to be around 400.

Promotion and consistency is key. Getting the word out to car clubs and others is important. Getting Hope’s cruise-in on everyone’s calendar before summer gets too busy has been a challenge that has taken years to accomplish. Once people are aware of the cruise-ins, having them reoccur on the same schedule allows people to plan.

The events always feature a band to provide entertainment, this month it was the Good Times Band. Having live music at an outdoor event changes the atmosphere and makes it feel more festive. They are an integral part of the cruise-ins, and some people come just for the music.

Jim and Roberta Isaacson are part of the Columbus Corvette Club and bring their immaculate 2004 Silver Corvette to most of the cruise-ins. The Corvette Club has several members that often bring out their cars and is well represented. Roberta said that they enjoy catching up with people that they know, and meeting new people.

“It’s good for businesses in town to do this, and that’s important,” said Isaacson.

Dick Hendrickson has owned his Mercury convertible for 55 years. It looks like he could have bought it yesterday. Friday was Dick’s first cruise-in at Hope. He doesn’t take the car out very much.

“I hate babysitting it when it’s sitting out in a crowd,” he said.

He has seen the Hope cruise-in advertised in the Columbus newspaper, and finally decided to come out. He was impressed by the event, and hopefully he will bring his car back for the October event.

Jessica Barrett is the coordinator of this year’s cruise-ins.

“I wanted to be a part of the Cruise-In so I could try to make a difference in our community and try to get everyone involved," she said. "We wanted to being in new ideas to try to get the younger people of the community more involved as well as still make it fun for the ones already involved so they would continue to be part of this event. It's always so neat to see where others have traveled from just to be a part of our event. It's a great way to have others come to Hope to see all of the neat things we offer.”

Diane Burton, Hope’s clerk-treasurer, shared the following thoughts after Friday’s cruise-in.

“I love seeing everyone having a good time in our wonderful small town!" Burton said.

"It is important to bring visitors here so they can experience this. Every time Hope has one of these great events, it opens the door for potential growth!”

In the late 1800s, there was a band on the Town Square every Friday. Back then, a band would play every Friday and people would walk about, visit and appreciate the music. It was the height of Hope’s social scene at the time. Those events emphasized people’s relationship with one another, and helped to weave together the fabric of our community.

The times have changed. We have switched our horses for cars. Our music wouldn’t be recognizable to people from the 1800s. But the sense of community that springs from these types of events are the same. It’s a good tradition, and it is being carried on beautifully.

The last cruise-in for the year will be Friday, Oct. 4th.