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Have no fear, this festival's bikers are 'good people'

The Spring Bike Fest is beer, bands, barbecue and custom bikes for mostly middle-aged professionals, an organizer of the Palm Harbor event says.

By TERRI D. REEVES
Published May 14, 2004

PALM HARBOR - It seems as if quiet little downtown really was born to be wild.

Last November when Palm Harbor held its first bike festival, organizers expected about 500 bikers.

An estimated 5,000 showed up.

The black leather bands will rumble into town again Saturday for Palm Harbor's Spring Bike Fest from 4 to 10 p.m.

This weekend, the numbers could be even greater.

"We are expecting up to twice that number this time," said Don Hurt, chairman of the festival and owner of Your Claim to Frame on Nebraska Avenue. "Palm Harbor became known as a place where this type of event was well appreciated and well maintained. We are bracing ourselves for a good turnout."

And a good time.

There will be beer and barbecue, two bands, raffles, 35 vendors and a lot of admiring looks at the custom bikes in the show.

Rock 'n' roll music will play in the background during an upbeat memorial for fallen bikers.

It will be held in the Rheba Sutton White Chapel from 4 to 8 p.m.

"People are invited to bring a picture, helmet or leather jacket, anything that represents the life of their friends or relatives," Hurt said.

Getting there may not be an easy ride because of road construction that has torn up the intersection of Omaha Street and Nebraska Avenue and lined approaches to downtown with piles of dirt and heavy equipment.

Hurt advises people to reach the festival from Alt. U.S. 19 and Florida Avenue.

"The road construction is not an ideal situation, but bikers are adaptable people and will know what to do," he said.

The event is sponsored by Old Palm Harbor Main Street, a nonprofit organization in partnership with Pinellas County that focuses on the revitalization of historic downtown Palm Harbor. Proceeds will be used to promote businesses and the vitality of the Main Street program.

Proceeds from the raffle will benefit Bikers Down, a charity that helps bikers injured in accidents.

Feeling a bit wary about the event?

Nothing to fear, Hurt says. These aren't Hell's Angels out to split skulls for a little Saturday night fun. Mostly they are middle-aged professionals who conquer their wanderlust by riding around together with the wind in their hair.

"The average biker age is 43 and their average income is $47,000," he said. "They ride Harleys and Hondas. They are good people."

IF YOU GO

The Spring Bike Fest will be Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m. Admission is free. The bike show entry fee is $20. Register at the event. The festival will be held on Florida Avenue from Omaha Street to Alt. U.S. 19 and on Georgia Avenue from 12th Street to Alt. 19. To avoid road construction, approach the festival on Alt. 19 and Florida Avenue. For more information, call Kathy Govola at (727) 787-4700 today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

[Last modified May 14, 2004, 01:02:21]


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