Barrington to reduce Cruise Nights schedule, offer other Thursday events
Barrington will reduce the schedule for its long-running Cruise Nights in an effort to offer other summer events to bring visitors downtown on Thursdays.
Instead of the 14 Cruise Nights held in 2018, eight will be a part of this year's "Summer Thursdays in Barrington." Patty Dowd Schmitz, the village's director of communications, marketing and events, said there are ideas on the drawing board for family-friendly fun to replace some of the Cruise Nights.
Schmitz said while Cruise Nights has been successful, it's "starting to transition a bit in terms of its attendance."
"And so we thought that this year we would host the majority of our Cruise Nights in the early part of the summer and then leave the later part of the summer for a few other types of events to gauge community interest in different types of events," she added.
Some village trustees expressed concern about declining Cruise Nights attendance last year.
For the past 15 years, owners and fans of custom cars and hot rods from the village and beyond have gathered in a public parking lot at Cook and Station streets in downtown Barrington. The alcohol-free Thursday gatherings have gone from June 1 through Aug. 31.
This year, Cruise Nights will start May 30 and run through July 18, with a finale set for Aug. 22. The village has other possibilities for the nights of July 25, Aug. 1 and Aug. 15.
Under the tentative plan, those three evenings could feature performances in one or two downtown parking lots with themes of dance, music and movies, and theater. Unlike Cruise Nights, all downtown streets would stay open during the new events, which Schmitz said could help merchants.
Cruise Nights ran from 6 to 8:30 p.m. last year. In response to a concern from Trustee Jennifer Wondrasek about late-night noise bothering downtown-area residents, Schmitz said the new attractions likely would be in the same time frame as Cruise Nights.
As part of Barrington's downtown Thursday action, the farmers market is expected back June 13 and the National Night Out should return Aug. 8.