September is the month to show off Ottawa, with several big events on tap.
City of Ottawa departments are tasked to ensure everything runs smoothly during those events, such as this past weekend’s Power of the Past Antique Engine and Tractor Show and this weekend’s upcoming Ol’ Marais River Run car show. Both events take over Forest Park, 320 N. Locust St., with the car show spilling into the downtown area for Saturday’s Back to the 60s Cruise Night. Main Street will be closed to traffic from Tecumseh to Seventh streets from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. as the downtown corridor fills with antique cars, vendors and car enthusiasts.
The utilities department was out Monday morning testing the city’s street lights.
“They are going through making sure they are all working,” Dennis Tharp, utilities director, said. “We do it three or four times a year. We try to do it before big events, like the car show. I saw a couple [bulbs] out. We have a couple of bulbs to change, but other than that we are in good shape. We try to keep up with street lights and various area lights around town. We usually have people that let us know that they are not working. We put those on work orders and get out and get them taken care of.”
Tharp said his department and other city departments have a list of prep work to complete prior to the events.
“We do some work making sure things in the park [are Ok],” Tharp said. “The tractor show kind of prefaces the car show. If we’ve got electric problems, we find them with the tractor show. We have some little things we try to get set up for Saturday night downtown.”
Historically, the car show draws thousands of visitors to Ottawa and nearly 2,100 antique cars and trucks for the weekend.
Tharp said these events are big for Ottawa, especially for the economy.
He was quick to point out the organizations of these events and the city have a solid relationship, working together to keep problems at a minimum.
“In cooperation with the folks that put the show together, we have added street lights,” he said. “We have a lot of things that needed to be done over a period of time. We have done things, not only to accommodate the car show, but also good for the community as a whole as we go through the year. There has been a lot of cooperative efforts between the folks that run the car show and the city over a period of time that is good for everybody.”