By Joe Crews
For Hometown News
As the 72nd annual edition of Bike Week officially kicks off Friday, March 8, primarily on the east side of Volusia County, organizers are putting the final touches on preparations for the ninth annual DeLand Bike Rally.
That rally officially will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 9, but some establishments will continue the party well into the night. The rally is presented by MainStreet DeLand Association, along with a number of sponsors, said Mary Beth Harris, MainStreet's executive director.
"We will shut down Woodland Boulevard so bikers can triple-park," she said, adding that additional designated free parking areas will be set up on Rich and New York avenues as well as overflow parking at other locations around downtown.
Merchants will have specials during the day, and Issues lounge will be sponsoring two outdoor stages on East Indiana Avenue and surrounding parking lots. The Yuengling Beer Garden will be set up near the stages, and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle will be given away, courtesy of Yuengling Lager. (Entrants must be present to win the bike.)
Mayor Bob Apgar will address the crowd at 10 a.m., and veterans will be honored and the national anthem played, Ms. Harris said.
"We're expecting at least 20,000 people in and out during the day," she said. "It's a wonderful economic boost for everybody. The people that come in spend money, and they spend it generously."
For more information about the rally, visit mainstreetdeland.org.
In addition to the two outdoor stages, several establishments will feature entertainment during the day. One of those is Bill & Frank's Brick House Grill at 142 N. Woodland Blvd.
"We'll have Pete Godilla, a one-man acoustic band, playing on our patio with an outside bar," said Frank Jennings, one of the twin brothers who own Brick House. "He'll be playing from 11 (a.m.) to 4 (p.m.)."
Another establishment that's going whole-hog for Bike Week is OB's Restaurant and Lounge, 1750 N. Woodland Blvd. Owner Ron O'Brien said he'll have bands playing from noon that Saturday until 2 a.m. Sunday, as well as every day inside and out.
"We'll have an After Party beginning at 6 p.m., with tickets for $30," Mr. O'Brien said.
OB's also will have Chris Cruz, a noted motorcycle detailer and artist, on hand with some of his bikes on display. From 3 to 11 p.m., Cruz will offer pin-striping and airbrushing demos.
OB's will offer bikini bike washes on both Saturdays of Bike Week. A lingerie show also is planned during the week.
That night, the Airport Lounge and Gin Mill at the DeLand Airport will feature the popular band The Night Hawks performing, Ms. Harris said.
While DeLand is hoping to attract all things leather-and-chrome tomorrow, plenty of other activities will be happening on the east side of Volusia County, the epicenter of Bike Week.
The Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce's Bike Week Task Force will have a welcome tent on North Beach Street, just north of the Daytona Beach Harley-Davidson museum store, said Meghan Hughes, the chamber's marketing and communications manager.
"It's the world's largest motorcycle event, when thousands of motorcycle riders come from all over to the Daytona Beach area, and basically all of Volusia County," Ms. Hughes said, adding an estimated 500,000 bikers will descend on the area for the 10-day event. "We have some diehards who come back every year."
The task force has compiled a long list of events to cover every day of Bike Week, including a six-stop treasure hunt and the raffling off of a $35,000 customized Harley-Davidson Street Glide, for which only 4,500 tickets will be sold, along with several smaller prizes.
The events will be capped by a Harley-Davidson Appreciation Parade at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 16. The parade will step off from the Ocean Center on North Atlantic Avenue, head south to International Speedway Boulevard and then west to Daytona International Speedway, a total of more than five miles. The grand marshals will be Josh, Bill and Cutie Pie, from the TV show Moonshiners, who will lead the procession.
The parade will end at the Speedway's front stretch where participants can check out motorcycle displays and take free demo rides.
Biker hot spots along the coast will have a multitude of bands and other entertainment.
The top concert at Destination Daytona, at U.S. 1 and Interstate 95 north of Ormond Beach, will be Shooter Jennings, son of country music legend Waylon Jennings, on Saturday, March 16.
At No Name Saloon, Great White with original lead singer Jack Russell will perform on Friday, March 15. Other bands there include Faster Pussycat on Wednesday, March 13, and Crash Rocket on Saturday, March 16.
West Volusia Bike Week Hot Spots
For details, go to officialbikeweek.com and delandbikerally.com)
Motorcycles will line the streets of Downtown DeLand for one of newer features of Bike Week. Most of the action occurs on Saturday, March 9, but some places will have events through Bike Week.
Volusia County Fairgrounds
At State Road 44 and Interstate 4, the fairgrounds have a campground and motorcycle exhibits and swap meets.
Volusia Speedway Park
With dirt track races and a big campground, the race tack on State Road 40 just east of U.S. 17 at Barberville attracts a crowd.
Genuine Bistro & Lounge is inviting bikers to stop by for Bike Week specials and the Hampton Inn also is offering specials for bikers.
With the Junkyard Saloon, DeLeon Springs will get its share of bikers.