Those looking for a cheap family-friendly outing or an evening out with friends didn't have far to travel Friday as motorcycles and high-end cars roared into town.
The Downtown Jamestown Development Corporation sponsored the ninth annual Thunder in the Streets on Friday, which coincided with the 20th annual Downtown Cruisin'.
"We thought there would already be people over looking at the cars that would want to look at the motorcycles, the people looking at the motorcycles would also like to look at the cars," said Lee Harkness, DJDC executive director. "Then, we also have cross-entertainment. We decided to try it, and it was hugely successful. This is the third year they are both together. It's probably a lot more work than doing them separate, but it just really has been extremely successful."
Thunder in the Streets entertainment this year featured live bands for the entirety of the 11-hour event. Additionally, Team FMX - which has been seen on MTV, The History Channel, Discovery Channel and more - performed three stunt shows for crowds throughout the day.
"It's really an event set up so people can look at other people's bikes. The stunt show is pretty significant. Of course, there's all kinds of food and a couple of kids things to do over there," Harkness said.
Just a stone's throw down Third Street from Thunder in the Streets, a collection of classic and modern automobiles were on display as part of Downtown Cruisin'.
P-J photo by Nicholena Moon
Unlike some auto shows which only display classic cars, Downtown Cruisin' offered patrons a view of old, new and some particularly wacky cars.
Falling into the latter category was a trio of cars that patrons both young and old seemed to take an interest in. Parked on Main Street just above Third were General Lee, Herbie the Love Bug, and KITT. Herbie was even performing for the crowd.
"The hood goes up and down, the headlights wink, the bumper smiles, the air system dances and shifts, it plays music externally and has nine strategically placed water jets," said Vincent Stevenson, Herbie's owner. "I purchased the car from a junkyard and repaired the whole thing. I just saw it rusting away there and I thought to myself, 'this doesn't belong here.' It's been a great decision to restore it and we've used it to help (raise money for charities)."
Stevenson, who owns Vince and Son Auto Repair in Pennsylvania, had plenty of good things to say about Downtown Cruisin' and the city of Jamestown.
"I just have to say this is a great town just a really nice place," said Stevenson. "(My family) really enjoys Lucy and it's always a pleasure to come here to Jamestown."
Further down Third Street, Russ Piazza displayed his antique Packard, as well as memorabilia from 1956 when the car was made.
"We just love the Downtown Cruisin'," said Piazza. "It gives us an opportunity to see a lot of people we don't normally get to see. We have a lot of friends that also have antique cars and it's also a way for us to get together."
Piazza is particularly fond of his automobile because of the ties the Packard family has to Chautauqua County.
"The Packard estate in Lakewood and the Packard mansion in the Chautauqua Institution are great reasons (to own the car). It's nice to have something that has so many ties to where you're from."
Aside from bringing in a variety of people interested in motorcycles and cars, events like Thunder in the Streets and the Downtown Cruisin' allow people the chance to see what downtown has to offer.
"Some people will wander into some of the businesses. Our hope is even if they don't go into a business today, they'll notice a business and come back to shop next week or next month or whatever," Harkness said. "Our job is really to get people into the downtown, and this really does do that. I think they really have a good time, it's not really an expensive event, it's really family-friendly. Just about everybody can come."
Harkness expected around 1,000 people to turn out for Friday's events downtown.