Main Street offers new thrills

Published 1:30 pm Thursday, January 19, 2012

City of Buchanan photo / The weekend of Jan. 27 will be Buchanan’s first “Thrill on the Hill” event. Pictured is a similar event that took place in Vassar, Mich., that drew about 2,000 people.

Front Street will be closed in downtown Buchanan later this month but it will be filled with plenty of traffic of a different kind — blue inner tubes.

The city has purchased 40 of them in preparation for this month’s new Thrill on the Hill.

The two-day event, slated for Jan. 27-28, will require a lot of something the area hasn’t seen much of yet this winter — snow. Bracelets can be purchased for $3 for unlimited tubing Saturday down the hill and onto Front Street — an 850-foot run. A shorter run for children will also be available.

“You can tube as many times as you want to walk up that huge hill,” City Manager Bill Marx said.

A limited number of VIP passes for Friday night tubing are available for $10 apiece. The city is also conducting an auction for the right to take the inaugural ride down the hill.

Front Street will be closed from the top of the hill to Red Bud Trail during tubing 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.
Snow will be packed down to create a toboggan run and barriers created with hay bales and snow.

The unique idea was  borrowed from another Michigan community, the tiny town of Vassar. Marx and Mayor Carla Cole heard about it at a Michigan Municipal League conference.

“When they were talking about it, the mayor and I looked at each other and said, ‘we have hills just like that.’ This could be a really, really fun event for the community,” Marx said.

Vassar, a city of 2,600, drew more than 2,000 people for its event, and Marx is hoping with Buchanan being surrounded by bigger cities that the street will be packed for Thrill on the Hill.

The Moose Lodge will serve as a warming station, offering food and hot chocolate, and the Buchanan Fire Department will be holding a fundraiser lunch as well.

Marx said he is hoping people will make a day of it and visit downtown restaurants and businesses.

“It’s just a great opportunity for families to come out and enjoy their town and participate in something a little odd and unique,” he said.

Those interested in volunteering can contact Julie O’Brien at City Hall at (269) 695-3844.

Wristbands can also be purchased at City Hall.