It was nirvana for enthusiasts of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and tractors roaming five blocks of Clark Street in downtown Forest City on June 6.
Both sides of Forest City’s main street were filled with many classic and souped-up vehicles amidst music provided by Mojo Productions of Britt and a large, shaded food area. There were an estimated 200 vehicles and hundreds of spectators.
Paddler’s Tap, Ay Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, and Scoopy Doos Ice Cream were all open during the event. New this year was Black Dog BBQ, Woody’s Hot Dogs, and Chris’s Kettle Corn as food truck vendors. Scoopy Doos was extremely busy with people going for cold treats in 90-degree temperatures.
“These Chamber businesses had a very profitable day,” said Forest City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancy Hertzer.” We're very happy with the growth of the event and the positive impact it has on local businesses.”
There was no cost to register vehicles and the event was free for spectators. Spectators were able to view all the vehicles up close and in most cases talk to the vehicle owner.
Registered vehicle participants competed awards and trophies. Winners included: People’s Choice Award – Forest City Fire Department, “Betsy,” 1922 Firetruck; Best Car – Mike Eistikan, 1966 Pontiac GTO; Best Tractor - Dale and Julie Reineke, 1951 Allis Chalmers; Best Truck– Nathan Ostrander, 1937 Ford Hot Rod; Best Motorcycle – Joe Sifuentes, 2003 Harley Road King.
Due to its success in 2020, the Motor Night planning committee decided to host two events in 2021 – June 6 and Sept. 12. The 2021 Motor Night planning committee members are Norma Hertzer, Lacey Heaver who oversees marketing and event planning, Jay and Carrie Steffenson, Linsey Current, Johnny Rodriques, Jared Weingert, and Dawn Arispe.
Forest City Motor Night was established in 2020. Community members Johnny Rodrigues and Linsey Current approached the Forest City Chamber to spearhead this event. Hertzer said that the Chamber agreed, so long as the event be optimized to benefit Chamber members.
In 2020, all Chamber activities were sharply focused on supporting Chamber members through the negative economic impacts effects of COVID-19. So, only Chamber members were allowed to vend at last year’s event. The first year was very successful and featured an estimated 170 vehicles.
About a dozen volunteers manned the Motor Night registration tent. Dark and light charcoal grey Motor Night T-shirts and bandanas marketed for this year’s event were worn by many spectators, volunteers, and registrants.
Travis Mericle of Garner displayed his 1985 AMG reconstructed semi-truck tractor, which towered above most of the vehicles near the south end of the blocked off stretch of Clark Street. Repainted military green, he said the vehicle was purchased from Holland Contracting about four years ago. He noted that after buying it, he removed the existing rear suspension and put front suspension on the rear.
“I went to Clear Lake with it and then heard about this event on Facebook,” said Mericle while telling one of at least 200 different Motor Night stories of the day.
Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.