Small-town charm prevails at Roanoke Street Fair

Roanoke’s Friday Street Fairs are held the first Friday of the month from 6-9 p.m. The July fair featured a patriotic parade. (Cindy Larson)

By Cindy Larson

When the Roanoke Friday Night Street Fair falls the day after the Fourth of July, a patriotic parade is just a given.

So on July 5, at 7:30 p.m., youngsters and their parents took off from in front of Moose and Mollie’s for a short but sweet parade down Main Street.

Bicycles, tricycles, scooters, strollers and wagons bedecked in red white and blue took to the street, led by two youngsters marching with Old Glory and the Indiana state flag held high.

Shiny red, white and blue streamers dangled from handlebars. Some bikes sported streamers woven through tire spokes. Bicycles with training wheels were abundant.

Many of the kids were dressed in red, white and blue. Some rode by smiling at the crowd, looking relaxed. Others pedaled by with steely concentration on their faces. 

Moose and Mollie’s Cafe and Gelato organizes the Friday Night Street Fairs, which feature local restaurants’ food available on the street, music, and kids’ games. They occur on the first Friday of the month, and each has a different theme.

Moose and Mollie’s owner Stephanie McKibben said, “On the Fourth you do patriotic.” She described the children’s bike parade as “just really sweet and organic.”

Rosalind and the Way play at the Roanoke Friday Night Street Fair on July 5.  (Cindy Larson)

The Friday Night Street Fairs are very family-oriented, she said. it’s truly a community event, with tables set up for eating and chatting. On July 5, a gentle breeze took the edge off the heat and mellow music performed by Rosalind and the Way created a mellow vibe.

An enticing smell came from the food being cooked on the street. “This was my first time having a hamburger from Joseph Decuis,” said Diana Spindler, who came from Fort Wayne for the festival. She mentioned Roanoke’s “charming little downtown” and described the street fair as a “nice little event.”

She enjoys going into the shops on Main Street, many of which stay open for the Friday Street Fairs.

Jim and Kay Humphrey were coming back from Michigan and decided to stop by Roanoke to soak in the atmosphere before they headed home. They’ve been to other Roanoke Street Fairs. Jim said they tend to run around a lot, and the Roanoke event was a relaxing, peaceful way to wrap up their trip.

The next Roanoke Friday Street Fair will be 6-9 p.m. Aug. 2. The theme is A Taste of Roanoke featuring food from local restaurants and churches.