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Council approves tentative dates for Bellefonte Cruise

TIM WEIGHT/EXPRESS FILE PHOTO The “open cruise” takes place on Friday night during the Historic Bellefonte Cruise. It is an extremely popular event.

BELLEFONTE — After a one-year hiatus, the Historic Bellefonte Cruise is back — tentatively.

At this week’s Bellefonte Borough Council meeting, council tentatively approved reserving the dates for the Historic Bellefonte Cruise. It is scheduled for Father’s Day weekend, June 18 and 19 in downtown Bellefonte.

Historic Bellefonte, Inc. made the request to host the event in downtown Bellefonte beginning around 5 p.m. Friday, June 18 and all day Saturday, June 19.

“Saturday is a full day of activity,” said Bellefonte Borough manager Ralph Stewart.

Because of COVID-19 gathering restrictions in Pennsylvania, the dates are tentative.

TIM WEIGHT/EXPRESS FILE PHOTO The Historic Bellefonte Cruise, shown here in 2019, typically draws thousands of car enthusiasts to downtown Bellefonte on Father’s Day weekend.

“I think because of COVID, what we need for this evening is an approval for the dates with referral to the streets committee for review all of the other items on their request,” Tosti-Vasey said.

One of the “other items” was a request from the Cruise committee to hang banners throughout town, specifically along the waterfront.

“There will be no banners or advertising on the waterfront area per borough policy,” Tosti-Vasey said of the banner request. “Let’s get that out of the way right now.”

Bellefonte mayor Tom Wilson spoke about the hanging of banners.

“On behalf of the Cruise committee, I do have to mention this. I’m not saying I’m in favor or against it. If there’s a policy, there’s a policy. But I’ve been told by the Cruise committee that they have some sponsors who will donate a significant amount of money if they can put banners up on the Waterfront.”

Wilson said that he wasn’t disputing “whether it is right or wrong.”

“That’s the reason they ask,” Wilson explained. “They can raise a significant amount of money … if we would allow banners on the waterfront or for one sponsor.”

Council member Jon Eaton asked about spacing and social distancing at the event.

“Will (the) streets (committee) be doing spacing of the booths and such? Depending on where we stand with COVID,” Eaton asked.

“Yes,” Tosti-Vasey responded.

Last year’s Cruise was canceled due to COVID-19. Currently, outdoor gatherings are capped by the state at 250 people. However, the Cruise is arguably the most popular event of the summer in the borough and typically draws thousands of classic car enthusiasts into town.

Gathering limits would have to change before June for the Cruise to go off without a hitch.

Additionally, the Cruise committee asks that attendees do not bring pets to the event, but council said they could not enforce that.

“That’s not something we’re going to be personally enforcing. We’re not going to go through, making a resolution or an ordinance to enforce it for them,” Tosti-Vasey said. “We don’t have an ordinance, we’re not enforcing it and we’ve consistently said that.”

Bellefonte Borough Council will meet again at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 1. The meeting will be held via Zoom.

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