Kendallville

Hundreds of people showed up for Kendallville’s last Food Truck Friday event in 2019 hosted by the Noble County Young Professionals Network. Three were planned for 2020 but all were canceled.

KENDALLVILLE — If you’re looking to get out of the house and do something this year, two events are planning to return to Main Street this fall.

The Kendallville Car Show and Food Truck Friday are being scheduled for September and October, respectively, in a hopeful return to outdoor activities following a year of cancellations throughout 2020.

The Board of Works and Public Safety reviewed and approved street closures for the events, which will be coming up in a couple months.

The annual car show is scheduled to come up first, taking place on Saturday, Sept. 11.

Organizers are expecting 350 vehicles or more, as well as potentially upward of 1,000 visitors to the free downtown event. The car show will also hopefully feature some food vendors and live music as it has in years past.

Last year, car show organizers had optimistically planned to hold their usual event in September, with not just the usual classic cars but also an area for people to display custom motorcycles. A cruise route through residential neighborhoods was also being planned as a way to show off to people who might want to see some cars but were hesitant about a large gathering.

The event never happened, however, as it was called off due to COVID-19 concerns shortly before it was scheduled to happen.

Food Truck Friday is also being scheduled to make a comeback, although just one is in the works this year.

Hosted by the Young Professionals Network, Food Truck Fridays proved to be hugely popular downtown in 2019, so much so that the YPN had originally been planning three dates for 2020.

Like most public events, however, COVID-19 dropped cancellations on all of those planned events.

This year, the YPN is aiming to host its Food Truck Friday on Oct. 1, which is the Friday before Kendallville’s Apple Festival. The event will run on Main Street with hopes of attracting 15-20 food trucks to the downtown. That event will also have live music as it has in the past.

The two events are adding to a festival schedule that is growing slowly, as the Kendallville Area Chamber of Commerce had already announced a delayed return of the Fairy, Gnome and Troll Festival for Saturday, Aug. 14.

Usually run in May, that festival was not scheduled as the COVID-19 situation lingers, but increasing vaccination rates and retreat of local restrictions are allowing event planners to get back on the calendar.

The late-summer and fall run dates will also give some more time for Kendallville to make the final improvements on Main Street.

Work on the more than $1.5 million streetscape project still isn’t totally complete. Although sidewalks and curbs were torn out and replaced in quick order in 2020, lengthy delays on parts for the new streetlights and upgraded electrical system have continued through this week.

Crews were out Monday pulling electrical wire from the main power cabinets to individual outlets located at each of the tree grates. Once complete, the city then needs to plant new trees downtown as well as place and secure benches and finalize other decorative features before calling the streetscape complete.

Kendallville is also on the schedule for mid-July to have Main Street milled and repaved, which isn’t technically part of the streetscape but has always been planned to follow it. That work will also include new pavement one block both east and west on each of the cross streets from Rush Street to the railroad tracks.

“We’ll have electricity, our new downtown, it’ll be awesome,” Mayor Suzanne Handshoe said of the upcoming events. “I’m looking forward to it.”

In other business Tuesday, the board of works approved use of the Kendallville Sports Complex for weekly Legacy Kids Summer Nights event hosted by Legacy Church. The family-friendly get-togethers will include games and crafts and run weekly on Mondays from 6-7 p.m. starting June 7 through July 19.

The Kendallville Police Department is also seeking new dispatchers, looking to hire one full-time and two part-time dispatchers to fill vacancies created by recent resignations.

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