By Joe Crews
For Hometown News
About a half-million members of the leather-and-chrome set will be roaming Volusia County for the next 10 days, spending much-appreciated cash with local businesses and enjoying a variety of entertainment.
Bike Week 2013 is the 72nd annual rally of the two- (and sometimes three-) wheeled motorcycles.
"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," said Meghan Hughes, marketing and communications manager for the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Hughes estimated 500,000 people will be at the event.
"We have some diehards who come back every year," she said.
Ms. Hughes said the event, which runs from Friday, March 8, through Sunday, March 17, is important to the local economy.
"We know it will help," she said. "With new places opening, it will be great for the area and will help our vendors and businesses a lot."
The Bike Week Task Force will have a welcome tent on North Beach Street, just north of the Daytona Beach Harley-Davidson museum store.
The organizers have 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, as well as other, 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.
For more information on the multitude of other Bike Week events, visit officialbikeweek.com.
While much of the focus will be on Beach Street and Main Street in Daytona Beach, the action will be widespread.
Bruce Rossmeyer's Destination Daytona, north of Ormond Beach, for example, will have a full schedule of events every day of Bike Week, said Mandy Rossmeyer, who oversees marketing for the complex containing a Harley-Davidson dealership, several motorcycle-related vendors, a hotel and restaurants.
Ms. Rossmeyer is optimistic there will be huge crowds throughout the week.
"It's hard for me to say (how many), but judging by Speed Weeks we could have record numbers, bigger than last year, hopefully," she said. "Our vendor lot was filled and we were really pleased with the attendance. Things are looking good for Bike Week."
Destination Daytona, as in years past, will have a free concert on the second Saturday, March 16.
"We'll have Shooter Jennings, Waylon's son, with two opening bands starting at 6 p.m.," Ms. Rossmeyer said. "I believe Shooter just released a new CD and this will be his first appearance since its release."
New this year is the "Baddest Bagger Bike Show," which features Harleys with storage compartments straddling the rear wheel, she said. That event will take place on Friday, March 15, in the Coca Cola Pavilion.
Other activities include food, entertainment and live bands every day, and random appearances all week long by the Budweiser Clydesdales, which are housed at Destination Daytona, near the junction of U.S. 1 and Interstate 95.
Down south in Edgewater, the No Name Saloon also is blowing it out for Bike Week on its two-acre property on U.S. 1.
"We'll have two or three bands every day, with Great White performing Friday night (March 15) with original lead singer Jack Russell," said owner Todd Johnson. "We'll also have Faster Pussycat on Wednesday night and Crash Rocket on Saturday night, the 16th."
Another highlight will be pudding wrestling at 4 p.m. that Saturday. No Name Saloon will have scheduled appearances throughout the week by the Bud Girls and the Jack Daniels's Girls, some of the cast of the TV show Moonshiners, and various skill and eating or drinking contests all week long.
A number of vendors will have displays up all week. In addition, a 3-day/2-night Bahamas cruise will be given away every day of Bike Week, Mr. Johnson said.
West Volusia is getting into the Bike Week action, too. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the opening Saturday, March 9, the 9th annual DeLand Bike Rally, presented by MainStreet DeLand Association and various sponsors, will fill a blocks-long section of downtown Woodland Boulevard.
"We will shut down Woodland Boulevard so bikers can triple-park," said Mary Beth Harris, MainStreet's executive director, who added that additional designated parking areas will be set up on nearby streets.
Merchants will have specials all day long, Ms. Harris said, and bands will be playing in various locations and on two outdoor stages near Issues lounge on East Indiana Avenue during the day, and some establishments will continue the party into the night.
"We're expecting at lest 20,000 people in and out during the day," Ms. Harris said.
East Volusia Bike Week Hot Spots
For details, go to officialbikeweek.com)
Main Street Daytona Beach
The original epicenter of Bike Week dating back to the beginning when bikers would come to the motorcycle races on the beach and hang out. It's the home of famous biker bars Boot Hill Saloon, Dirty Harry's and Froggy's Saloon as well as some newer restaurants and clubs, and several other biker-related shops.
Beach Street Daytona Beach
While the Harley-Davidson museum store is the center of the action, the restaurants, bars and shops along the street also have special events. There also are a variety of events in the parks between the street and the river from the Main Street Bridge south to Orange Avenue.
The big motorcycle exhibits are in the Ocean Center, but the hotels in the area also have special events for bikers, including the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort.
Destination Daytona, Ormond Beach
With the world's largest Harley-Davidson store and motorcycle mechanic school Wyotech, Destination Daytona attracts the second largest crowd of bikers after the Main/Beach epicenter. It will have concerts and tons of vendors.
Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach
With Thunder Alley and 10 days of motorcycle races, the Speedway will attract huge crowds. It's also the best place to check out manufacturers' new machines and take free demo rides.
U.S. 1 North, Ormond Beach
The Broken Spoke Saloon and Iron Horse Saloon, the area attracts another big crowd. The two big saloons have live bands and other entertainment, and there are other bars in the area.
Cabbage Patch, Samsula
Cole slaw wrestling is what attracts the biggest crowds, but there's lots of other entertainment around Sopotnicks Cabbage Patch Bar and the campgrounds near State Road 415 and Pioneer Trail.
U.S. 1, Port Orange and South Daytona
Like the area in Ormond Beach, the south ride has several big events, including ones at the Last Resort Bar and Racing's Original First Turn Restaurant and Lounge. Black Hills Saloon and the Port Orange Flea Market also attract crowds. In South Daytona, motorcycle dealers and parts suppliers as well as restaurants and bars also have special biker events.
State Road 44, New Smyrna Beach
While Pub 44 may have closed, the Harley-Davidson dealership and Volusia Motorsports have special events planned.
U.S. 1, Edgewater
No Name Saloon has most of the big name entertainment, but there are other attractions in Edgewater, too.
Daytona Flea & Farmers Market
With a huge campground and events throughout Bike Week, the flea market has built up its Bike Week activities over the years.