- Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 09:05
- Published on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 09:04
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The Colonial Beach Town Council received an update at last week’s work session on the planning for the first-ever bikefest to be held in town, tentatively scheduled for the second weekend in October of this year. The event’s planning group was seeking to obtain a definitive answer concerning the council’s approval of the event before proceeding with promotional activities.
President of the Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce, Carey Geddes, along with Bryan and Vickie Coffman, owners of the town’s High Tides on the Potomac restaurant, are heading up efforts with General Manager Steven “Smurf” Keene and Marketing Director Tammy Saberan of All American Harley-Davidson of Hughesville, Maryland, to create the first, and hopefully annual, Colonial Beach BikeFest.
The group met with the Colonial Beach Town Council in October 2013. At that meeting, Keene presented the council with information on activities that would take place and to dispel rumors surrounding the type of people who would be attending the event.
Keene told the council that a lot of people have misconceptions about bikers. The old stereotypical profile of a biker is far from the truth. Today’s bikers, he said, are on average between the ages of 25 and 54 years of age. He advised that they are men and women of Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, Asian, etc. races. “A lot of women are coming on board with the motorcycle industry,” Keene said, adding, “The average household income is between $75 to $100 thousand, and most of them own their own homes.”
Keene went on to tell the council, “Harley-Davidsons are the ‘Cadillacs’ of motorcycles, so we invest a lot in them. While bikers may be interested in tattoos and chrome, some of us also share interests in art.” He said that he buys not only local art, but also that of artists from places he’s visited.
“So, we do shop at the events we attend,” Keene said, adding that bikers also love the environment. “We love music- blues and jazz, religion and most importantly, we like reaching out to those that are in need. I have yet to find a more charitable crowd than the bikers when there is a community in need.”
What is a bikefest?
The event would include activities geared towards a biker demographic, strategically planned to accommodate their interests, in hopes of creating a tradition for loyal motorcycle enthusiasts to participate in for years to come.
Event activities include: bike shows; “weenie bite” rides, where passengers get on a bike with a driver and try to take a bite out of a dangling hotdog; bike rodeos that show off a rider’s slow-speed skills, such as the “road kill” event, where riders attempt to pick up stuffed animals inside a small area; and other entertaining demonstrations.
Events are all geared around having fun while practicing safety. Of course, there will be food and beverage venders serving sodas, tea and beer. Keene said, “There is always live music, and many events end with a fireworks show.”
There is no admission fee for spectators. The public is free to wander around throughout the venue. Entrance fees are charged for the competitions to fund prizes.
Harley-Davidson will also cover production and design of an event shirt through sponsors. The town would be involved with the event logo designs, and proceeds will benefit local groups such as the CB Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad. Keene told the council at the Jan. 23 work session that the group also plans to donate proceeds to the Colonial Beach Elementary School Fire Fund, as well.
At the Jan. 23 work session, the group was primarily there for the council’s final blessing to turn the first Annual Colonial Beach BikeFest into a reality and a huge success. However, the group took considerable time updating the council on event planning, to date.
Keene discussed the group’s progress over the last five months. “We have held several [organizational] meetings at High Tides restaurant.” He said that many local businesses and key planners for the event have worked well together to iron-out plans and ideas.
“Ideas were passed around and pitched, all working towards making this event a huge success for local business owners, because that’s what it’s all about, which in turn, will revitalize Colonial Beach and put you back on the map as a great destination place,” Keene told the council.
Keene reported that he has been doing his research and has spoken to many motorcycle event-goers. He said that many of the folks he’s talked to about an event in Colonial Beach were very excited because it is so close. The reason this information is so important for Colonial Beach is twofold- Not only is Colonial Beach centrally located to several big cities such as Richmond, Fredericksburg, Washington, DC and parts of Maryland, but in recent economic impact studies of similar events, almost half of the event-goers are usually “day-trippers”. Of the other half of event-goers, on average, the party size is 2.7 visitors, and many of them stay an average of two nights at the event’s location.
Social media is already generating a vast amount of interest. Southern Maryland radio station 97.7’s Ripley has been airing free spots concerning the upcoming event, but the group doesn’t want to move forward without some word from council that they will, indeed, support the event.
Keene said he has received a number of calls from bands trying to line up shows for the event, and many vendors have committed to attending. He has also scheduled the Harley-Davidson demo fleet for Colonial Beach, rather than holding it at the dealership. Keene asked Harley-Davidson to schedule it the weekend of the event and to hold the demos at the CB Dragstrip. This event brings in over 350 test drives in a day and a half.
Keene wrapped up his update by saying, “We need approval to move forward with promoting this event. Band managers and vendors have already been calling to be included. We would like to include more local businesses- We were pleasantly surprised by the businesses that showed up to the meetings at High Tides. We want all Colonial Beach businesses to participate in the creation of this event. The crowd that is coming will be interested in more than bikes.”
“Together, we can turn this ‘biker event’ into a true ‘bikefest’ that attendees will look forward to, and plan for annually!”
A welcome reception has been scheduled at the CB Dragstrip for the Friday night of the BikeFest. The reception will be held there to encourage BikeFest attendees (those not interested in attending the ArtWalk) to go out of town during the regular First Friday ArtWalk, to reduce noise to help ensure adequate parking for other ArtWalk attendees.
The town council’s show of hands indicated that all members are in favor of the event. Mayor Mike Ham suggested the town work out contractual agreements on details, and how cleanup, security and other maintenance items will be handled.